Theo Nelson CC’24 Named Churchill Scholar

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Theo Nelson CC’24 has been named a 2024–25 Churchill Scholar. He joins 18 total Churchill Scholars who were selected — 16 in the sciences, math and engineering, and two Kanders Churchill Scholars for science policy.

Established in 1963 at the request of Sir Winston Churchill, the Churchill Scholarship was inspired by Churchill’s vision for a U.S.-U.K. partnership that would support the advancement of science and technology in both countries. Selection committees seek applicants who exhibit exceptional academic and research achievement. The Churchill Scholarship provides funding for one year of postgraduate study at Churchill College, Cambridge.

Nelson, who is from New Canaan, Conn., is majoring in computer science. His research focuses on the intersection between biological and computational sciences, specifically in the application of long-read sequencing technologies to long noncoding RNA biology and epitranscriptomics.

As a Churchill Scholar, Nelson plans to pursue an M.Phil. in medical science to research single-cell spatial atlases of tissue microenvironments. “Theo has taken full advantage of the STEM research resources available here at Columbia, and I know he’ll do the same at Cambridge,” says Ariella Lang, associate dean of academic affairs and director of undergraduate research and fellowships. “We are excited to see where his research journey takes him.”

Nelson has been a teaching assistant in general chemistry at Columbia and in computational biomedicine at Weill Cornell Medicine. Outside of the classroom, he is the president of the Columbia University Systems Biology Initiative and the space microbiology lead for the Columbia Space Initiative. Nelson is also a certified ski instructor and an emergency medical technician.

Students and alumni can learn more about the Churchill Scholarship and other fellowship offerings through the Undergraduate Research & Fellowships Office.

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