Washington Family Scholars Program

Pauletta and Denzel Washington Family Gifted Scholars Program in Neuroscience

The Cedars-Sinai Department of Neurosurgery is committed to providing advanced, comprehensive, technologically sophisticated and clinically-effective diagnosis for the treatment of adult and pediatric neurological disorders. Along with our strong commitment to providing educational programs for students, healthcare providers, patients and the community, the Department is especially delighted to offer the availability of the Pauletta and Denzel Washington Family Gifted Scholars Program in Neuroscience.

The Pauletta and Denzel Washington Family Gifted Scholars Program is a research opportunity supported by the Department of Neurosurgery and is available to undergraduate, graduate, and medical students with an interest in science. Awardees will be matched with a principal investigator to work on a research project in a laboratory under the direction of Dr. Keith L. Black in one of the following areas: Blood-brain barrier and drug delivery into the CNS, immunology and cancer vaccine, gene therapy, gene discovery or advanced surgical technology.

Awardees are expected to submit an abstract or scientific paper on their research to a national neuroscience, cancer or neurosurgery meeting at the end of their fellowship with the Department. If their abstract or paper is accepted for presentation, the Department will sponsor the awardees to attend the meeting in which his/her paper was accepted. Each award winner will receive special commendation from a representative of the Pauletta and Denzel Washington family.

Financial Support

The selected awardee will be hired in a paid position for ONE (1) year to conduct research in a Department of Neurosurgery laboratory. The amount of the salary is dependent on the student’s level of education, skills, and research experience and may range between $30K to $34K a year with no benefits. Each awardee will also receive further financial support to present their work at a national neuroscience, cancer or neurosurgery meeting. Awardee must be able to travel to Los Angeles, California to complete their research project. According to IRS regulations, this award is subject to all applicable income tax.


  • Applicants must be an undergraduate, graduate or medical student.
  • Applicants must be able to commit to one year to the program
  • Applicants with an interest in neuroscience are eligible for this award. However, applicants that have not yet committed to a major in science are welcome.
  • Applicants must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States.
  • Applicants must be 18 by the start of the fellowship

Selection Committee

The Selection Committee consists of the following members:

Keith L. Black, MD
Professor and Chairman, Neurosurgery
Director, Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute
Director, Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. Brain Tumor Center
Ruth and Lawrence Harvey Chair in Neurosciences
Department of Neurosurgery

Maya Koronyo, PhD
Assistant Professor, Neurosurgery
Assistant Professor, Biomedical Sciences
Research Scientist, Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute
Department of Neurosurgery

Adam Mamelak, MD
Co-Director, Pituitary Center
Director, Functional Neurosurgery Program
Professor, Neurosurgery
Department of Neurosurgery

Ueli Rutishauser, PhD
Associate Professor, Neurosurgery
Director, Human Neurophysiology Research
Department of Neurosurgery

Lindsey Ross, MD
White House Fellow
Senior Resident, Neurosurgery
Department of Neurosurgery

Previous Selection Committee Members:
  • Nelson M. Oyesiku, MD, PhD, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Benjamin Carson, MD, Johns Hopkins Medical Center, Baltimore, Maryland
  • Maria Castro, PhD, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor
  • Allen Counter, MD, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Audrey S. Penn, MD, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland

For More Information

For more information on how to apply, application deadlines or to receive an application package, please contact:

Samantha Phu, Academic Program Coordinator
127 S. San Vicente Blvd.
Advanced Health Sciences Pavilion, A6600
Los Angeles, CA 90048

Phone: 310-423-9522
Fax: 310-967-8591
Email: samantha.phu@cshs.org