USF World News

2nd Annual USF President A.P. J. Kalam Postgraduate Fellow Named

TAMPA, Fla (June 23, 2017) – The University of South Florida (USF) is proud to announce the second recipient of the President A.P. J. Kalam Postgraduate Fellowship, named after the late president of India. The Fellowship is for exemplary Indian students pursuing a PhD in specified Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs.

President Kalam was a strong advocate for young people and a passionate supporter of clean energy and energy independence. He visited USF in 2012 and is remembered affectionately by the university and the vibrant Indian heritage community in Tampa Bay, Fla.

In December 2015, USF established a fellowship in his honor that recognizes laudable students who graduated from an Indian university, have exceptional academic credentials, and a passion for the STEM fields of study. Applicants must have demonstrated experience in his or her discipline, research productivity, and made professional contributions and achievements to the field.

Venna Subramanian

A Master's graduate from the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, Veena Subramanian is a highly lauded academic and has presented her research at numerous conferences. She intends to use the PhD program at USF to continue to develop her scientific temperament, critical thinking, and hone her research and laboratory techniques to make an impact in the areas of genome integrity and aging mechanisms, which will enhance the understanding of issues facing the elderly population and allow researchers to find solutions to their pressing needs.

"I first learned of the Fellowship because I'm subscribed to a BioTech website which sends updates on scholarships and job positions. I saw the link about the Kalam Fellowship, and I've been following it since 2015 waiting for a chance to apply," said Subramanian.

As part of Subramanian's first semester at USF, she will complete rotations in three research groups for her PhD program within the Department of Cell Biology, Microbiology and Molecular Biology (CMMB), working with Drs. Schmidt, Kee and Westerheide. After the rotation completes, she will select one laboratory to pursue her post-graduate research while at the University of South Florida.

"Prior to my application, I had a chance to correspond with some of the faculty in the CMMB department to discuss research interests and laboratories. They have been an excellent resource throughout this process for the last year; I'm looking forward to working with the faculty and other current PhD students on research in aging studies," said Subramanian.

"Veena was a remarkable candidate for the highly competitive President A.P. J. Kalam Postgraduate Fellowship, and we welcome and anticipate her contributions to the USF Department of Cell Biology, Microbiology and Molecular Biology," said Dr. Roger Brindley, USF System Vice President of USF World. "Her exceptional academic credentials and passion for research exemplifies all that embodies a Kalm Fellow. Congratulations again!"

When asked about her time in the United States and at USF, Subramanian said, "this will be my first time in the United States, and I'm so excited to be a part of this community and to prove myself at the University of South Florida. The people are so nice, and I feel really welcomed already. At first I thought it would be a culture shock from India, but even the climate is similar so I know I'll feel right at home."


The University of South Florida, established in 1956 and located in Tampa, is a high-impact, global research university dedicated to student success. The USF System includes three, separately accredited institutions: USF; USF St. Petersburg; and USF Sarasota-Manatee. Serving more than 49,000 students, the USF System has an annual budget of $1.6 billion and an annual economic impact of $4.4 billion. USF is ranked in the Top 30 nationally for research expenditures among public universities, according to the National Science Foundation. In 2016, the Florida Legislature designated USF as "Emerging Preeminent," placing USF in an elite category among the state's 12 public universities. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference.