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Chemistry Assistant Professor Ambika Bhagi-Damodaran receives Cottrell Scholar Award

Award recognizes excellence in research innovation and academic leadership

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (02/13/2023)—University of Minnesota Chemistry Assistant Professor Ambika Bhagi-Damodaran is one of 25 early-career researchers across the U.S. and Canada to receive a 2023 Cottrell Scholar Award. Given by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement (RCSA), the award honors “outstanding teacher-scholars who are recognized by their scientific communities for the quality and innovation of their research programs and their academic leadership skills.”

Bhagi-Damodaran and the other award winners will receive $100,000 to support their work and will be invited to the annual Cottrell Scholar Conference in July 2023.

The Cottrell Scholar Awards are given annually to researchers in the chemistry, physics, and astronomy fields whose award proposals incorporate both research and science education. 

Bhagi-Damodaran’s lab at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities works at the intersection of biological, inorganic, medicinal, and computational chemistry. One of the goals of her Cottrell Scholar proposal is to understand and reprogram the cellular mechanisms behind hypoxia—or low levels of oxygen in the body’s tissues—a common phenomenon in malignant tumors. Her other goal is to revamp the Department of Chemistry’s inorganic chemistry lab course to better align with the undergraduate students’ professional aspirations.

Bhagi-Damodaran received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 2009 from the University of Delhi, her master’s degree in 2011 from the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi, and her Ph.D. in 2016 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Before starting as an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota in 2018, she was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of California, San Francisco.

While at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Bhagi-Damodaran has also received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award and a Maximizing Investigators' Research Award (MIRA) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) General Medicine to support her work.

Learn more about the 2023 Class of Cottrell Scholars.