Ph.D. Candidate Lantana Grub wins NDSEG Fellowship
Second-year biological sciences Ph.D. student Lantana Grub has been named to the U.S. Department of Defense’s National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship Program (NDSEG). The incredibly competitive program awarded just 165 of 3,142 applicants this year. The program supports students working toward doctoral degrees in science and engineering whose study has relevance to the Department of Defense.
Grub, who studies mitochondrial genetics in the Patel Lab, focuses her research on the role of epigenetic DNA modifications in cellular energy production. The NDSEG Fellowship now provides support for her research through August 2025 and includes a $40,800 annual stipend, full tuition and fee payment, and $5,000 for travel.
“I applied for this fellowship a total of three times. First, while I was completing my M.S. and was applying to Vanderbilt’s Ph.D. program,” Grub said. “Every effort was worth it because each version of my research proposal forced me to think critically about why I’m conducting this research and what my research goals are.”
Perseverance comes naturally to Grub, as she is also the first in her family to complete a bachelor’s degree. When she began her college career, she was introduced for the first time to Ph.D. mentors in the sciences who were pursuing research and teaching as a career.
“I realized then that this was something I could pursue,” Grub said. “In undergrad, I had to rely heavily on mentors who helped guide me through the process of beginning an academic career. Now, I try to provide that mentorship for other students finding their way.”
Grub is a member of the Vanderbilt Inclusivity in the Biosciences Association, which hosts workshops for students applying to graduate school. She credits her mentors and colleagues for helping her excel.
“My adviser, Maulik Patel, is an exceptionally thoughtful mentor and is deeply invested in my scientific development,” Grub said. “I work with kind and brilliant colleagues who help shape my research.”