The UC Irvine Fletcher Jones Fellowship is a highly prestigious award, made available through funding from the Fletcher Jones Foundation.  It is competitively awarded to an outstanding doctoral student who has advanced to candidacy and demonstrates financial need.  The award of a one-year fellowship of $19,000 is intended to assist with doctoral degree completion. 

Fletcher Jones Fellowship

Fletcher Jones Foundation Home Page

Award Info

$19,000 (full award)


All disciplines offered by the General Campuses are eligible, with the exception of Business Management, Law, and Medicine (Ph.D. students are eligible, but MBA, MD, and JD students are not).

 Each school may nominate one outstanding graduate student who meets the following minimum criteria:

  1. Shows financial need.
  2. Exhibits excellent interpersonal and leadership abilities.
  3. Has a UC GPA of 3.8 or better through Spring Quarter 2015.
  4. Has advanced to candidacy for the Ph.D.
  5. Is making satisfactory academic progress toward their degree.
  6. Is a U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident.

Application Process

All individual student nominations must include the following:

  1. A completed UCI Fletcher Jones Fellowship Nomination Form.
  2. A completed Student Information Form including a statement of financial need of approximately 100 words.
  3. A current CV.
  4. A statement by the nominee of no more than 1 page in length describing their research project, progress to date, and plan for completion.  Candidates should describe their research in terms that are accessible to a general audience since the reviewers may not be in their field.
  5. Recommendation letters from the student’s department chair or program advisor, and the student’s faculty advisor.
  6. The nomination package should be forwarded with the signature of the School’s Associate Dean.

More information about this fellowship may be found on the Fletcher Jones Call for Nominations document.

If students have applied for and accepted Financial Aid loans or Work-Study awards and subsequently receive any fellowships, the additional support may affect their eligibility for need-based financial aid. Students should contact the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships to determine if their eligibility will be affected. Students should also review the terms of any funding that they have accepted for AY 2015-2016 to ensure that they are eligible to receive additional fellowship funding before applying.

Contact Info

Questions should be directed to Kate Triglia, 949-824-9031.


The deadline for e-mail receipt of completed/signed nomination packages is 12:00 p.m. (noon) on Tuesday, September 1st, 2015.

Current Fellow

Nayna Mahesh Sanathara

Nayna Mahesh Sanathara

UCI Doctoral Student, Department of Pharmacology


  • Pharmacology, University of California, Irvine, Ph.D., 2016 expected
  • Biology, California State University of Long Beach, M.S., 2010
  • Molecular Biology (B.S.) and Psychology (B.S.), University of California San Diego, 2005


Nayna's current work investigates the neuronal circuitry regulating the melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH) neurons. The MCH system is a neuropeptide system that plays important regulatory roles in food intake, energy balance, glucose homeostasis, sleep, and reward-related behaviors. MCH expression is restricted to two hypothalamic nuclei, the lateral hypothalamus and the zona incerta. Although much is known about where MCH neurons project, very little is known about the presynaptic inputs received by these neurons. Nayna’s thesis work investigates the specific presynaptic populations of neurons that regulate the MCH system using neuroanatomical, pharmacological and genetic tools. Her work investigates the chemoarchitecture of these presynaptic inputs and their functional significance. This work has implications for additional functions of melanin-concentrating hormone for neuropsychiatric disorders.


Nayna Mahesh Sanathara holds a B.S. in Molecular Biology and a B.S. in Psychology from UC San Diego and an M.S. in Biology from California State University of Long Beach. She plans to complete her doctorate in Pharmacology at the University of California, Irvine in 2016.

A first generation college student, she first became interested in studying the brain as an undergraduate researcher at the Salk Research Institute in Dr. Wylie Vale’s lab. While pursuing her Masters’ in Dr. Kevin Sinchak’s lab at CSULB, she realized how enjoyable and exciting behavioral neuroscience research could be. She is currently completing her PhD thesis work in Dr. Olivier Civelli’s lab in behavioral neuropharmacology at UCI. Afterwards she plans to continue her biomedical research in behavioral neuroscience to elucidate potential therapies for neuropsychiatric diseases.

Nayna is active in several campus organizations that foster graduate success. Most recently, she co-founded the “Brews and Brain” Meetup which presents the scientist performing UCI’s cutting-edge research to the general public. In her theoretical free time she enjoys traveling, baking, reading, and spending time with her friends and family.

Past Fellows