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September 21, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Amy Lunday
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443-287-9960


Starkville Resident Named Davidson Fellow
Madhavi Gavini earned a $50,000 scholarship.

Starkville, Miss., resident Madhavi Gavini, a 17-year- old freshman at The Johns Hopkins University, was recently named one of 17 2007 Davidson Fellow Laureates, an honor which recognizes young people across the country for their outstanding achievements in science, technology, mathematics, music, literature or philosophy. Gavini was awarded a $50,000 scholarship. She is one of two Johns Hopkins students to earn this honor; Wesley Chapel, Fla., resident Celeste Lipkes, also a 17-year-old freshman, earned a $25,000 scholarship.

To be named a Davidson Fellow, students under the age of 18 must submit a project that is recognized by experts in the field as significant and having the potential to make a positive contribution to society. Winners receive $50,000, $25,000 or $10,000 scholarships. The Davidson Fellows scholarship is sponsored and funded by the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, a national nonprofit organization headquartered in Reno, Nev., that encourages, nurtures and supports profoundly gifted youth.

Gavini submitted a project in the award's science category. After learning that a friend had been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, she set about finding a way to fight secondary infections often caused by the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which is common in people with compromised immune systems. To that end, Gavini engineered a method to inhibit the growth of biofilm-forming pathogens. Through the combination of traditional Indian medicine and molecular biology, she identified a compound capable of penetrating and inhibiting the growth of the biofilm. This compound could be used in inhalers and antiseptic sprays and treat millions of people suffering from chronic Pseudomonas bacterial infections. Gavini's biography, prepared by the Davidson Institute, is online at presskit.ditd.org/2007_Davidson_Fellows_Press_Kit/
2007_DFL_%20Madhavi%20Gavini.pdf
. A press release from the Davidson Institute is online at www.ditdservices.org/Articles.aspx?ArticleID=271..

Since its inception in 2001, the Davidson Fellows Award has recognized 107 young people ranging in age from 6 to 17. More than $2.5 million has been granted in scholarships during the past five years. Davidson Fellows have reached insightful scientific conclusions, across cultures, high into the cosmos and deep into the human psyche. To learn more about the Davidson Fellows and their projects, please visit www.DavidsonFellows.org .

Gavini graduated from the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science. She is the daughter of Nara Gavini and Lakshmi Pulakat.