Shurl and Kay Curci Foundation PhD Scholarship

History and Purpose

The Shurl and Kay Curci Foundation established the Curci Scholars program in 2021 to provide full scholarships and living expenses for the first two years of PhD programs for six students at each of three universities: UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, and University of Washington. In 2022, the program was expanded to include UCSF, University of Utah, and University of Colorado Boulder. 

The Shurl and Kay Curci Foundation PhD Scholarship at UCSF – established with a generous gift of $1.75M –  is dedicated to supporting basic science research in the life sciences. The scholarship supports incoming PhD students in the basic sciences for the first two years of their degree program, with a special emphasis on increasing recruitment of women and international students. Six students were selected in year one of the program, and an additional cohort of six students have been awarded in 2023-24. Learn more about the Curci Foundation.


  • First-year PhD students – fellowship offered during the annual admissions cycle
  • Students must be committed to undertaking rotations and thesis projects in the basic sciences, on a wet-lab based project, per the stipulations of the funder.
  • Students must be admitted to one of the following programs (two nominations per program):
    • Tetrad
    • Bioengineering 
    • Biological and Medical Informatics
    • Biomedical Sciences
    • Biophysics 
    • Chemistry and Chemical Biology
    • Developmental and Stem Cell Biology
    • Neuroscience
    • Oral and Craniofacial Sciences
    • Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmacogenomics

Preference will be given to: 

  • International candidates, especially those from middle or low income countries.
  • Candidates who would be considered historically underrepresented in the biomedical research enterprise.
  • Candidates who identify as women or non-binary.


  • Six fellowships total will be awarded
  • Full stipend paid over a 24-month period (September - August)
  • Tuition and fees, including non-residential supplemental tuition for 2024-2026



  • Brenda Ametepe – Bioengineering
  • Haoyu Fan – Chemistry and Chemical Biology
  • Tayma Handal – Developmental and Stem Cell Biology
  • Nikhita Kirthivasan – Biomedical Sciences
  • Chloe Kong – Bioengineering
  • Chang Liu – Tetrad

Learn more about the 2023-24 Curci Scholars.


  • Amelie Marie Lucie Delcourt – Tetrad
  • Ricardo Espinosa Lima – Developmental and Stem Cell Biology
  • Yang-Sun Hwang – Neuroscience
  • Gabriella (Gabi) Maldonado – Tetrad
  • Tuan Thinh (Caleb) Tong – Bioengineering
  • Xinlan Wen – Neuroscience

Learn more about the inaugural 2022-23 Curci Scholars.