Anisha Mittal, Fisk University class of 2020, has recently received two prestigious awards: a Goldwater Scholarship and a Portz Interdisciplinary Fellowship. Anisha is the first Fisk student to receive either award.

Created in 1989 in honor of Senator Barry Goldwater, the Goldwater Scholarship recognizes and encourages sophomores and juniors who plan to pursue careers in mathematics, natural sciences, and engineering. The Goldwater is the most prestigious award for undergraduate students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).

The Portz Interdisciplinary Fellowship Award, sponsored by the National Collegiate Honors Council, is open to undergraduate honors students from across the country, regardless of major. The fellowship supports creative and innovative endeavors from students who wish to undertake cross-disciplinary research.

Both awards recognize Anisha’s laboratory research, directed by Dr. Steve Damo, assistant professor of chemistry. Using tools of biochemistry and structural biology, Anisha aims to characterize the enzyme Superoxide Dismutase B (SODB), a protein important in the antibiotic resistance properties of the pathogen A. baumannii. Because A. baumannii is commonly found in health care facilities and is implicated in diverse infections, Anisha’s research has significant therapeutic applications.

Anisha is a rising senior from Dalton, Georgia. She is majoring in biology with a music minor, and is a member of the W. E. B. Du Bois Honors Program. She plans to pursue both an M.D. and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry. Her career goals include conducting biomedical research focused on understanding molecular mechanisms of human diseases and practicing medicine in underserved areas.