Opening the Doors of Discovery

Support from the Aramont Charitable Foundation enables groundbreaking research while launching the careers of promising scientists

Opening the Doors of Discovery


A physicist who focuses on experimental condensed matter, assistant professor of physics and applied physics Julia Mundy AB ’06, AM ’06 is designing unique quantum materials at the atomic scale. Thanks to funding from Harvard’s Aramont Fellowship Fund for Emerging Science Research, Mundy and her team were able to discover a new superconductor material—a novel discovery in a burgeoning scientific discipline that could one day become the foundation for applications ranging from energy storage to faultless quantum computing. Now a rising star in the field of quantum science and a mentor to future generations of women scientists, she credits the Aramont Fellowship for changing the course of her career.

“The Aramont Fund award was the first grant I received as a faculty member at Harvard, and it seeded my most important research efforts to date,” Mundy says.

Established by a gift from the Aramont Charitable Foundation in 2017, the Aramont Fund provides vital funding for high-risk, high-reward research by early-career faculty, postdoctoral scholars, and graduate students across the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard Medical School, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. In its first five years, the Aramont Fund has enabled 21 scholars across the University to pursue compelling research that may have otherwise gone unfunded and unexplored.

Antonieta Monaldi Arango AB ’90, president of the Aramont Charitable Foundation, and her late husband, Javier F. Arango AB ’85, MBA ’89, have supported many projects and initiatives across Harvard, with a dedication to expanding access to education, funding research at the vanguard of innovation, and championing science at every stage of scholarship at the University.

Along with boosting the careers of up-and-coming scientists, the Aramont Fellowship Fund is key to paving the way for discoveries that occur when researchers are free to pursue unconventional paths throughout the fields of life sciences, technology, physical sciences, and medicine. Nominated by the deans of their Schools, these exceptional researchers are able to undertake innovative projects rarely funded through traditional sources. Many fellows go on to receive illustrious awards and grants from organizations such as the National Institutes of Health and publish in influential journals such as Nature.

“In meeting each year's new cohort, we at the foundation are excited to learn about their cutting-edge research at the forefront of science,” says Arango. “It is exceedingly rewarding to understand the impact the fund has had on the fellows’ interdisciplinary work, translational research, academic publications, career advancement, expanded sources of funding, and increased lab sizes.”


Meet the 2022–23 Aramont Fellows

The five fellows of this year’s cohort are able to pursue cutting-edge research thanks to the Aramont Fellowship.

Aramont Fellows

Smita Gopinath
Assistant Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Harvard Chan School
“Pregnancy is a fascinating biological and immunological phenomenon. This funding will allow my lab to begin to explore ways in which our microbiome promotes healthy pregnancy. The basic questions around the biology of pregnancy are understudied and underfunded, and I am grateful that this fellowship will allow us to collect preliminary data and step into a new field.”

Richard Liu AB ’15
Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Faculty of Arts and Sciences
“Our newly founded research group is undertaking a high-risk project that aims to develop organic substances that can replace unsustainable metals in many applications. Support from this fellowship has been an invaluable source of encouragement for the entire team.”

Josefina del Mármol
Assistant Professor of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School
“This award has a special personal significance: it will allow me to start studying the human-preying behavior of a disease-carrying insect whose bites infect and kill thousands of people in my home country of Argentina. These studies will shed light on how disease-carrying insects hunt humans, with important translational consequences for the containment of vector-borne diseases in the developing world. I am deeply thankful to the Aramont Fellowship Fund for generously supporting my work on this neglected tropical disease.”

Heidi Kletzien
Postdoctoral Fellow in the Wagers Lab, Faculty of Arts and Sciences/Harvard Medical School
“Receiving a fellowship from the Aramont Fund for Emerging Science Research has allowed me to pursue high-risk, high-reward work that is critical to discovering key mechanistic drivers of head and neck cancer (HNC) and will establish new—and much needed—in vivo models of HNC tumorigenesis.”

Haichao Wu
Postdoctoral Fellow in the Aizenberg Lab, Harvard Paulson School
“As an international postdoctoral fellow with limited research funding opportunities, this fellowship fund gives me an exceptional opportunity and tremendous freedom to investigate a high-risk, high-reward project that would otherwise be impossible to pursue.”