From cholera transmission to Chavez’s Venezuela

  • October 28, 2016
From cholera transmission to Chavez’s Venezuela

Four Gates Cambridge Scholars will discuss their research at an internal symposium on Tuesday.

Four Gates Cambridge Scholars will give talks on research ranging from cholera transmission and the cell surface structure of bacteria to drug addition and racial politics in Venezuela at an internal symposium next week.

The Gates Cambridge internal symposium takes place on 1st November.

The speakers are:

Emma Glennon [2016], who is doing a PhD in Veterinary Medicine. She will give a presentation on cholera transmission in the modern world.

She says that while cholera can be transmitted via water and this type of transmission has the potential to spark explosive epidemics, it can also be transmitted from person to person through more direct types of contact. However, the balance of these two transmission pathways is not well understood. She has used a mathematical model of cholera transmission to try to understand how both direct and waterborne transmission of cholera work together to maintain cholera epidemics in Dhaka, Bangladesh, one of the most cholera-prone cities in the world. She says: “The interplay between these transmission types has direct implications for public health control measures to restrict – and climate change to drive – cholera.”

Paul Bergen [2013], President of the Gates Cambridge Scholars Council. He will talk about his research into a cell surface nanomachine of bacteria, called the flagellum, and how it enables their movement and ability to cause disease. He will detail his laboratory’s work on uncovering the combined role of two proteins, FliK and the FlhB export gate, in bacterial motility, a previously unknown mechanism.  Paul is completing his PhD in Pathology.

Parvathi Subbiah [2016], who is doing a PhD in Latin American Studies. She will speak about the role played by race in Venezuelan politics. Her research is looking at specific racial and cultural elements in the political identity of Chavismo that have helped the movement identify with the majority of Venezuelans and will analyse Chávez's discourse on race to determine the part it played ih his election as president. She says: “The study hopes to answer if, and if so how, Chávez's movement made skin colour an important element of political legitimacy and to give  a better understanding of how social and racial identities help shape and conform our political identities.”

Alanna Just [2016], who is doing an MPhil in Medical Science [Psychiatry]. She will give a talk entitled “Reward processing in addiction – disentangling the effects of drugs and familiarity”. Her research addresses the issue of whether the brain abnormalities found in drug users are caused by drug use or whether they are the cause of drug use. It draws on studies of drug users and their siblings. Alanna says the implications are significant. If, for instance, users and their siblings have similar abnormalities in reward processing that may indicate an underlying neural trait that increases vulnerability to drug dependence prior to drug exposure. If not, it may suggest that there is a different brain network implicated in addiction. Moreover, if research shows siblings and those who are only recreational users have some sort of neural resilience to addiction that could inform the development of future treatment and therapies.

*The symposium takes place in the Gates Cambridge Scholars Common Room from  from 7-9pm. Scholars and their guests are welcome. Picture credit of Hugo Chavez: Wikipedia.

 
Emma Glennon

Emma Glennon

  • Scholar
  • United States
  • 2016 PhD Veterinary Medicine
  • Churchill College

Previous Education

Princeton University

Paul Bergen

Paul Bergen

  • Alumni
  • United States
  • 2013 PhD Pathology
  • Churchill College

I work as a management consultant with a focus on healthcare, mostly in diabetes and oncology. My work uses analytics and healthcare data from insurers, patients, and doctors ("real world data") to improve clients' marketing and sales strategy and operations.

Parvathi Subbiah

Parvathi Subbiah

  • Scholar
  • United States
  • 2016 PhD Latin American Studies
  • Clare College

Although born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, I am half-Indian, half Venezuelan, and a nationalized American. I began studying the piano and classical voice at a very young age, and by 16, I was singing opera professionally with Venezuela's leading orchestras--including the world renowned Simon Bolivar Orchestra. I was scouted to pursue musical studies in the US at 19. Leaving the country was in the vernacular "a no-brainer," given Venezuela's dire political crisis (Caracas is currently the second most violent city in the world), but it nonetheless felt like exile. I had a deep affinity to politics, and after leaving Venezuela, I continued to write about Caracas: a dystopian character, full of natural beauty but ridden with crime and violence. I was fortunate enough to travel across continents with my singing, but my mother's pancreatic cancer forced me to re-evaluate my music career. My desire to understand the social crises afflicting Venezuela ultimately pulled me into academia. I began my MPhil in Cambridge in 2014 and looked at recurring deficiencies in Venezuelan Social Policy, sustained by the government's inability to diversify a rentier-based economy. My PhD will look at racism's role in Venezuela's entrenched inequalities and its effects on the political sphere. It will hopefully lead to the creation of a Venezuelan Institute for Research on Public Policy. I am thrilled to be joining the Gates community and its network of passionate and socially-committed scholars.

Previous Education

University of Southern California
University of Cambridge

Alanna Just

Alanna Just

  • Alumni
  • Canada
  • 2016 MPhil Medical Science (Psychiatry)
  • Newnham College

The brain is an enigmatic organ comprised of more connections between its neurons than stars in our galaxy. It was the imagery this statement evoked, and the ensuing implications, that first inspired me to pursue a double major in Neuroscience and Philosophy of Mind at Quest University Canada. As my interests evolved, they came to encompass psychiatric illness and substance-use disorders in particular. For my Bachelor’s thesis, I conducted graduate-level research on adult neurogenesis and morphine addiction at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. Since my undergraduate education, I have endeavoured to diversify my experiences and broaden my perspectives, traveling to remote communities in Siberia, guiding expeditions in Mongolia, and volunteering on medical pilgrimages in Nepal. Currently, I work as a research assistant at a women’s medical clinic, and serve on the Board of Directors of a non-profit organization in Vancouver. Above all, these seemingly disparate opportunities engendered in me a commitment to improving the lives of others. It is this commitment, along with my persistent passion for the mind, that led me to the MPhil in Medical Science (Psychiatry) at the University of Cambridge where I will conduct research on vulnerability and resilience in substance-use disorders. I am grateful for the opportunity to join the Gates Cambridge community, and look forward to engaging with other passionate scholars as we catalyze change.

Previous Education

Quest University Canada

Latest News

Provost wins top Royal Society award

Gates Cambridge Provost Professor Barry Everitt has been selected for the Royal Society’s premier award in the biological sciences. Professor Barry Everitt FMedSci FRS has been awarded the Croonian Medal and Lecture 2021 for his research on the application of his findings on brain mechanisms of motivation to important societal issues, such as drug addiction. […]

Addressing energy injustice in the Global South

A new framework which uses artificial intelligence to analyse textual data on energy use and behaviour could help policymakers develop a deeper understanding of energy injustices in the Global South. The study, Grounded reality meets machine learning: A deep-narrative analysis framework for energy policy research, was led by Gates Cambridge Scholar Ramit Debnath [2018] and is published in the journal Energy Research […]

Scholar wins top German prize for PhD thesis

A Gates Cambridge Scholar has won a prestigious international award for her PhD dissertation on the relationship between offshore finance and state power. Dr Andrea Binder was named winner of the Körber Foundation’s German Dissertation Award 2020 for social sciences. The prize, one of the most highly endowed for young researchers from Germany, honours excellent PhD research which […]

Developing a farm for impact model

Shadrack Frimpong has not yet started his PhD, but already his and his team’s work has earned him awards from the Queen, the Clinton Foundation and the Muhammad Ali Foundation. The awards are for their outstanding work in creating a potential new development model for rural crop-growing communities starting from Shadrack’s own village in Ghana. […]