Translating biological data and transforming the world as a Churchill Scholar

UNC alumnus Surojit “Surge” Biswas ’13 was selected in January 2014 as one of 14 Churchill Scholars nationwide. The Churchill Scholarship is given to American undergraduates planning to pursue graduate studies in science, mathematics and engineering and is currently valued at $62,000 for graduate work at the University of Cambridge in England. Recipients are chosen for exceptional academic talent and achievement, capacity for original and creative work at an advanced level, and outstanding personal qualities.

Surge earned his bachelor of science in mathematical decision sciences and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa in May 2012. He chose to remain for a year after graduation to complete his research project at UNC conducting experiments aimed at understanding how and why microbes interact with plant hosts.

Surge is pursuing a master of philosophy degree in plant sciences at Cambridge, and then plans to seek a doctorate in translational bioinformatics. “Given ongoing improvements in measurement technology like DNA sequencing, big biological data is increasingly becoming the norm. I want to use statistics and computer science to mine these datasets for answers to highly applied problems,” said Surge. “The opportunity to work at Cambridge with a world-class scientist toward genetically engineering thermally stable crops is a fantastic opportunity. Oh, and getting to do so at a university with the richest of cultures — scientific and otherwise — is exhilarating. I’m truly thankful for this awesome opportunity.”

Read more about Surge here.