Sabrina recently completed her PhD as the first Gates Cambridge Scholar from Indonesia. Her thesis focused on the implementation and outcome evaluation of mental health care policies in Indonesia, specifically in adapting service delivery models to local contexts. She is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at University College Dublin, working on the implementation of Collective Leadership in the Ireland East Hospital Group.
Sabrina holds a BA in Psychology and Asian Studies from the University of Melbourne, and an MSc in Organisational Psychiatry and Psychology from King’s College London. Prior to Cambridge, Sabrina worked at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore and at the Ministry of Social and Family Development, Singapore. She’s a World Economic Forum Global Shaper.
Since 2007 I have been developing an interest in and passion for public policy and governance. My undergraduate studies in law and economics in Australia, combined with my work at the Australian youth-run aid & development organisation The Oaktree Foundation, gave me many opportunities to develop these interests. After graduating I spent 15 months as a solicitor at Freehills, a leading Australian commercial law firm, before moving to The Boston Consulting Group, a global management consulting firm that has a strong public sector practice. My hope is that studying the Cambridge MPhil International Relations with the help of the Cambridge Gates Scholarship will continue to equip me with the knowledge and capability to have a substantial impact for the public good through public policy & governance.
After growing up in San Antonio, Texas, I undertook my undergraduate studies at Princeton University, where I am completing a degree in computer science. During my studies at Princeton, I discovered computational biology, and began working under Professor Mona Singh. My independent work revolves around constructing a computational pipeline capable of leveraging cancer genomic and transcriptional data to identify metabolites closely associated with breast cancer. These cancer-associated metabolites, or "driver metabolites," could prove key for understanding the metabolic alterations that form a hallmark of cancer development. At the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, I aim to continue my exploration of cancer metabolism and cancer evolution. In particular, I would like to explore structural and network-based models for understanding metabolic pathways important to cancer. These two areas should greatly refine my pipeline, improving its ability to uncover driver metabolites. It is my hope that augmenting our understanding of cancer metabolism and driver metabolites will open up new venues for cancer drug development and treatment.
Born in India, but raised in Chicago, I have always felt caught at the crossroads of cultures. Thus, as an undergraduate studying History at Pomona College, narratives of cross-cultural interaction and diaspora in the Indian Ocean world naturally captivated me. I curated an exhibit entitled “Navigating Culture: Islam and Encounter in the Indian Ocean World” that highlighted the historical role of Islam in exchanges between Africa and Asia. My undergraduate thesis, which I will further develop during my MPhil in World History at Cambridge, is on the Siddi people, or the African diaspora in India. My research examines the Siddi’s cultural entanglements with Europeans, Marathas, and Mughals in the period immediately preceding the colonial era. I am motivated to study the Siddi because I believe that the representation of marginalized groups in history is directly linked to the worldviews that govern their welfare today. Therefore, it is my goal to locate the voices of marginalized diasporas within the historical record, and to illustrate their often crucial role in shaping global events.
Before I started my medical degrees at Monash University I lived in Donald, a tiny farming community in Australia. With this rural upbringing I have always been motivated to provide the highest level of care to sick children wherever they may call home.
My career as a paediatric doctor began at the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, but I made my way to Cambridge after a year working in the paediatric intensive care unit in Edinburgh, Scotland and some brief stints in rural and outback Australia. It is a privilege to help the families and children we care for in often brief but life changing moments.
At Cambridge, I am working on a study called RASCALS – the ‘Rapid Assay for Sick Children with Acute Lung infection Study’ with the supervision of Dr Nazima Pathan and Prof Stephen Baker. We’re using new techniques to diagnose chest infection in critically ill children faster and researching genetic makers of antibiotic resistance so we can prevent treatment failure. Infection is one of the leading causes of death in children aged less than 5 years, so it’s exciting to try and make a difference in this area. This would not have been possible without the extensive support of Gates-Cambridge.
Monash University Perioperative Medicine 2018
University of Sydney Child Health 2014
After completing my MPhil at Cambridge, I received a PhD in history from Yale University. My dissertation, "Empire on Edge: Land, Law and Capital in Gilded Age Basra," looked at the accumulation strategies of elites in a changing legal and geopolitical context between the Ottoman, Qajar, and British Indian states. I have since returned to Cambridge for a JRF at Jesus College (2020-2023) where I am working on a project on the transnational history of concessions, and on turning my dissertation into a book manuscript.
“Why do people suffer?” asked a 13-year-old boy with many passports, when he travelled and saw his privilege reflected in the eyes of the world. Born to two statistics professors he was curious about anything besides academia, and so left his Australian physics degree for the adventure of technology startups in China. He wandered to monasteries in Tibet, sat for ten days of silent meditation at the edge of a South African desert, and tried to appreciate all he was born with by working as a data scientist at Airbnb. Then, he became depressed. Emerging on the other side thanks to care and treatment that so few can access, he wondered, “If even I, with all my comforts, feel this pain, perhaps Buddha was right that suffering begins in the mind?” And so I left Silicon Valley for Cambridge to contribute what I can to depression research. Neuroscience is in a golden age, powered by technologies that integrate genetics, drugs, psychology, and data. Yet we are challenged by the brain’s complexity, inconsistency of psychiatric diagnosis, and increase in depression especially among the most disadvantaged. I am grateful for the chance to offer my experiences and skills in helping shed light on these mysteries.
University of Cambridge Neuroscience 2021
National University of Singapore Physics 2013
Australian National University Physics 2013
I worked as a commercial lawyer in Sydney and as an associate (or clerk) to two Australian federal judges (one in Sydney, one in Melbourne) before coming to Cambridge. My PhD research at Cambridge was on the interception (stopping, searching and seizing) of shipping in order to regulate such activities as drug smuggling, WMD trafficking and the management of fisheries. Since leaving Cambridge I have work as a Lecturer and Reader in Law at University College London. From April 2015 I will be an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, Monash University, Melbourne.
My PhD research considers the composition, dissemination, and use of the Homiliary of Paul the Deacon in Carolingian Europe. The Homiliary was a collection of sermons on Christian doctrine and homilies on the Gospels, sponsored and promoted by Charlemagne as part of his attempts at religious reform in the Frankish kingdoms. It was compiled by Paul the Deacon, a Lombard scholar associated with the royal court. My research rests upon the original examination of roughly seventy-five manuscripts of the Homiliary from the ninth and tenth centuries, used in many of the most prominent cathedrals and monasteries of the time. Although my primary goal is to clarify the early history and use of this collection, which has been little studied, a broader angle to my research concerns the impact of government sponsored religious reform, as the Homiliary quickly became one of the most widely used books in Europe and would remain so for nearly a millennium.
My research focuses on a class of proteins called intrinsically disordered proteins. Unlike most well-studied proteins, such as those responsible for immunological responses, catalysis, and DNA replication, disordered proteins have no rigid three-dimensional structure and are instead highly dynamic. Despite their high prevalence in diseases such as Alzheimer’s, cancer, and diabetes, these proteins receive little attention, likely a result of how difficult they are to observe experimentally. My doctoral research will combine experimental methods with high-powered modelling techniques to understand these proteins and their relation to disease. Originally from Chicago, I attended Pomona College, where I double majored in chemistry and mathematics. There, I studied topics ranging from protein-ligand binding to topological complexity in protein structures (such as knots and links). My love of working at the intersection of biochemistry, math, and physics led me to begin working with Professor Michele Vendruscolo at the University of Cambridge as a Churchill Scholar, where I am combining computational methods with experimental techniques to understand the interactions between disordered proteins and therapeutic drugs. I am keen to improve the ways in which biochemists obtain information about protein function and stability and am intrigued by the potential of such work to have direct implications on our understanding and treatment of disease.
University of Cambridge
I was born in the United States but grew up in Nigeria, where I completed a BS in microbiology. In pursuit of a better education and career, I returned to the US and did a master’s in molecular biology and biochemistry with a specialization in biotechnology from the Georgetown University, and subsequently, a master’s in clinical embryology from the University of Oxford. During my studies at Georgetown, I became inspired to start JR Biotek, a life science education company that provides quality biotechnology and life science education, training and laboratory capacity building programs to students, educators and scientists in Africa. My vision is to help build a powerful workforce that can advance scientific research and innovation in Africa, especially within the field of agriculture. I am also very passionate about developing more effective and practical solutions to food insecurity in sub-Saharan Africa, and this influenced my decision to study plant science. My PhD research will aim to determine the commonalities and differences during intracellular rice root colonization by both beneficial and detrimental fungi, and how these associations may be enhanced for practical agricultural applications. Rice is a major staple food in many African countries; therefore, developing rice cultivars with better adaptations to low-input rice agroecosystems is crucial for achieving food security in the continent. This is the ultimate goal of my PhD. I am deeply honored to receive the Gates Cambridge scholarship, a life changing award that would allow me to improve the lives and careers of many in Africa.
University of Oxford
I developed a love for neuroscience while studying at Pomona College. Through various research projects, I explored several neurobiology topics during my undergraduate studies. As an HHMI EXROP Scholar, I investigated the neural circuitry of the pain pathway in the spinal cord at Harvard Medical School. During my third year as a visiting student at Oxford, I contributed to the structural discoveries of a novel synaptic formation protein complex involved in autism spectrum disorders and schizophrenia. In my senior thesis, I examined the role of a neuroendocrine enzyme in peripheral ganglion formation at Caltech. As an aspiring neurosurgeon-scientist, I hope to understand the mechanisms of regeneration in the brain after neural damage. While much current research focuses on neurogenesis, to functionally recover the brain after trauma and illness, remyelination is key. In my PhD, I hope to profile neural-glial communication in health and disease and understand the role of myelin using the optic nerve as a model.
University of Cambridge
I'm part of Arup's sustainability group in Melbourne. Since graduating from Cambridge in 2007, I have worked with developers, designers and policy makers to make sure our towns and cities are great places to live, produce their own energy, recycle water, and give people access to public transport. Some of my work that I am proud of include: advising the City of Melbourne on getting sustainability into the planning system and helping the UK construction industry reduce carbon emissions.
My research examines how multi-sensory encounters with landscapes shape people’s perceptions of heritage, belonging, and social difference. As a member of the Cultural Landscapes of the Irish Coast (CLIC) Project since 2007, I have undertaken archaeological and ethnographic research on the islands of Inishark and Inishbofin, Co. Galway, on topics ranging from early medieval monasticism and pilgrimage traditions, pastoralism, heritage tourism, and sustainability. Myself and colleagues have published research results in Antiquity, Medieval Archaeology, The Journal of Social Archaeology, and the Routledge Handbook of Sensory Archaeology.
As a postdoctoral fellow at Notre Dame, I am working with Dr. Ian Kuijt on the book project Faith Along the Water, which traces the expansion and development of monastic settlements across the seascape of Connemara c. 650-1300 CE.
University of Notre Dame
Anke completed her PhD at Cambridge University in 2006. She is an environmental and natural resource economist and is particularly interested in problems of optimal natural resource use and conservation under conditions of risk, uncertainty and irreversibility. She has applied her research on climate change adaptation to inform policy in the areas of optimal land use, biodiversity conservation, invasive species, salt marsh conservation and water management. She is currently an Associate Professor at the Department of Economics at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia and an Associate Editor of Environmental Conservation, Cambridge University Press.
University of Melbourne BA Environmental Studies/Japanese, Hon Environmental Economics, B.Com. Economics 1998
University of Cambridge MPhil Environmental Policy
Growing up in eastern Kentucky, in the heart of the Appalachian region of the United States, I was fascinated by questions of meaning in life and devastated by the hardship I witnessed at home and abroad. Education has been my ticket to exploring these two themes: meaning and inequity. With generous support through the Brown Fellows Program, I immersed myself in the liberal arts and sciences at Centre College, studying neuroscience and mathematics as well as philosophy and religion. I lived as a monastic for a summer in a Buddhist monastery in Taiwan, investigated crime scenes and defended the underserved in Washington, DC, and carried out a final-year thesis on spiritual memoirs and autobiographies. After examining the association between the immune system and mental illness through the MPhil in Epidemiology at Cambridge, I joined research teams at Dartmouth College, where we have explored self-regulation as a mechanism of behaviour change and conducted policy-focused research on the US opioid crisis. During my PhD I will address a critical question: Given similar histories of adversity, why do some children do better than others? Studying resilience may help us improve well-being and could lead toward greater health and educational equity. I look forward to working with others in the Gates Cambridge community as we explore fundamental life questions and help others thrive.
University of Cambridge Master of Philosophy Epidemiology 2015
Centre College Bachelor of Science Behavioral Neuroscience 2014
I completed a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Applied Statistics at the Australian National University. After graduating, I worked at PwC in Australia, whilst qualifying as an actuary. My work and studies focus on financial risk management in relation to retirement incomes, health insurance and aged care, employee benefits and welfare.