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December 6, 2012

Pitt senior awarded Marshall Scholarship

marshall2012_minhasPitt senior Paras Minhas, who earlier this year won a Goldwater Scholarship, has won a 2013 Marshall Scholarship.

Minhas is the 10th Pitt student to win a Marshall.

As a Marshall Scholar, Minhas will begin pursuing a PhD in molecular cell biology at University College London next fall. He is one of 34 students to receive the award that supports graduate study in the United Kingdom. Pitt was the only Pennsylvania college or university to have a Marshall winner this year.

Minhas’s activities at the University reflect his career goal of becoming a physician-scientist and leader in the improvement of mental health treatments through better medical care, scientific research and changes in public policy.

As a microbiology major in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, Minhas is completing minors in chemistry and mathematics.

He has been admitted to Pitt’s School of Medicine through its guaranteed admissions program and plans to earn an MD from Pitt after earning his PhD as a Marshall Scholar.

He already is the lead author of two peer-reviewed scientific papers published in Critical Care Medicine and Anatomical Sciences Education. He also has held student research positions in laboratories at Pitt, Johns Hopkins, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Mayo Clinic. He won a Chancellor’s Undergraduate Research Fellowship and a Brackenridge Spring Research Fellowship from the University Honors College during the same semester.

In addition, Minhas is a member of the William Pitt Debating Union. He has been honored for his thoughtful arguments on public policies as a Cross Examination Debate Association Summa Cum Laude Debate Scholar and as a William Pitt Union Feingold Debate Scholar.

Minhas is the founding president of Longitude Pittsburgh Organization, a nongovernmental agency that has raised money to assist orphaned students attending the Professional Secretarial Academy in Accra, Ghana, where Minhas taught health education during the summer of 2011.

He served as the first president of Pitt’s Student Health Advisory Board during the 2011-12 school year and led board initiatives to improve treatments for students with depression and to increase vaccination rates on campus.

He is an undergraduate teaching assistant in the Department of Biological Sciences and has tutored students in genetics, biology, chemistry, organic chemistry and biochemistry in Pitt’s Academic Resource Center.

Minhas also was named an Amgen Scholar, a program that funds student research opportunities. As an Amgen Scholar, Minhas conducted research at MIT, investigating the role of the HDAC3 enzyme in cognition, memory and mental illness.

He plans to continue researching the HDAC3 enzyme as a Marshall Scholar, in addition to studying British laws on mental health and whether it would be beneficial to implement similar legislation in the United States. He also plans to join a British debate society.

Filed under: Feature,Volume 45 Issue 8

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