Eli Grunblatt and Gilad Barach Receive Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship

Yeshiva College juniors Gilad Barach and Eli Grunblatt have been awarded the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, a highly competitive grant that supports undergraduates who intend to pursue careers in science, math or engineering.

Gilad Barach and Eli Grunblatt of Yeshiva College have been awarded the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship.

“Our track record of recipients of the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater scholarship for scientific research clearly indicates the excellence of the science education at Yeshiva College, which can be favorably compared with undergraduate college experiences at larger research universities,” said Yeshiva College Dean Barry Eichler. “The quality of our student body and that of our science faculty’s commitment to mentor undergraduates in the sciences is truly impressive.”

Only 271 college sophomores and juniors across the country are selected for the scholarship, which covers the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.

Grunblatt, of Brooklyn, New York, became entranced by the fields of molecular oncology and hematology while participating in research in the laboratory of Sumanta Goswami, associate professor of biology at Yeshiva College. There, Grunblatt investigates the molecular mechanisms that enable breast cancer cells to resist chemotherapeutic treatments and metastasize.

“I am fascinated by the intricacy and complexity of the processes by which cancer cells rework normal molecular and cellular machinery to survive, proliferate and evade destruction by the body’s defense systems and chemotherapeutic treatment,” Grunblatt said. “During my time in the lab, I’ve been exposed to cutting-edge techniques in modern biomedical research normally reserved for graduate work and have come to appreciate the kind of critical thinking and methodology that a scientist must constantly use.”

After he graduates, Grunblatt hopes to pursue a joint MD/PhD to become a clinician-scientist.

Barach, of Teaneck, New Jersey, has been researching computational approaches to graph theory with Fredy Zypman, professor of physics at Yeshiva College, and Gabriel Cwilich, associate professor of physics at Yeshiva College and division coordinator of natural and mathematical sciences. “The opportunities for undergraduate research at our small college are amazing and the attention I’ve gotten from tenured faculty couldn’t be paralleled at larger universities,” Barach said.

Barach intends to go on to graduate studies in physics and eventually contribute to product development in the high-tech industry. “As our modern world becomes more technologically advanced and interconnected, there is a great need for scientists to maintain and develop the systems driving society in a variety of fields, ranging from secure communications to medical imaging,” he said. “I hope to work on the scientific frontier and find ways to apply what researchers learn to improve people’s lives.”

Barach and Grunblatt, members of YU’s Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Honors Program, are involved “not only in their research but also in the dissemination of science to the larger community,” said Cwilich, director of the Honors program, referring to the students’ participation in the START! program, where YU students teach science to nearby public schools. “They exemplify what students at Yeshiva University can accomplish.”