The 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 $19,039 is intended to assist with doctoral degree completion. 

The call for nominations for this year's Fletcher Jones Fellowship competition at UCI can be found here.

Fletcher Jones Fellowship

Fletcher Jones Foundation Home Page

Award Info

$19,039 (full award)

Since this award will be disbursed monthly throughout the 2016-2017 academic year, nominated students must not plan to graduate before the conclusion of Spring Quarter 2017. As this fellowship is intended to support doctoral degree completion, students demonstrating a clear plan and strong likelihood of filing their dissertation by the summer dissertation filing deadline at the end of the award year will be given the strongest consideration.


Each School may nominate one outstanding doctoral student who meets the following minimum criteria:

  • Shows financial need
  • Exhibits excellent interpersonal and leadership abilities
  • Has a UCI GPA of 3.8 or better through Spring Quarter 2016
  • Has advanced to candidacy for the Ph.D.
  • Is making satisfactory academic progress toward their degree
  • Is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident

As this fellowship is intended to support doctoral degree completion, students demonstrating a clear plan and strong likelihood of filing their dissertation by the summer dissertation filing deadline at the end of the award year will be given the strongest consideration.

Application Process

Graduate students should consult with their program graduate affairs staff for submission instructions.

All individual student nominations must include the following:

  1. A completed UCI Fletcher Jones Fellowship Nomination Form.
  2. A completed Student Information Form, including the following:
    • 100-word statement of financial need (note any gaps in support, dependents, etc.)
    • 100-word student profile
    • 500-word statement by the nominee describing their research project, progress to date, and plan for completion. Nominees should describe their research in terms that are accessible to a general audience since the reviewers may not be in their field.
  3. A current CV.
  4. Letters of recommendation from the following:
    • The student’s faculty advisor/mentor (this letter should address the student’s financial need, interpersonal and leadership abilities, satisfactory academic progress, and expected date of degree completion)
    • The student’s department chair or program advisor

The nomination package should be forwarded with the signature of the School or Program’s Associate Dean. A letter of recommendation from the Associate Dean is not required.

Contact Info

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


The deadline for e-mail receipt of completed/signed nomination packages is 5pm on Thursday, September 1st, 2016. Please note that Schools and Programs may have earlier internal submission deadlines.

Please Note

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 2016-2017 to ensure that they are eligible to receive additional fellowship funding.

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