Three Scholars to speak at NAFA symposium

  • June 19, 2014
Three Scholars to speak at NAFA symposium

Three Gates Cambridge Scholars will speak about their research on smart engineering, how to estimate the size of early man and whether mobile and wearable technology can boost health.

Three Gates Cambridge Scholars will speak about their research on smart engineering, how to estimate the size of early man and whether mobile and wearable technology can boost health.

The Scholars will speak at the National Association of Fellowships Special Internal Symposium on 27th June in the Gates Scholars Common Room.  The Symposium is part of a two-week visit to UK universities by 35 NAFA advisors and representatives from US universities.

The presentations will be followed by a panel of Gates Cambridge and Cambridge Trust Scholars who will talk about their experiences and life in Cambridge. The panel includes the three speakers and Talia Da Silva [2013] who is doing a PhD in Engineering, Jerry Lee [2013] who is doing an MPhil in Epidemiology and Kelvin Mei [2013] who is doing an MPhil in Physics.

The three presentations are by:

Musa Chunge [2013]. He will talk how embedding fibre optic sensors into structures can help engineers “see” into what they build and gain a greater understanding of structural behaviour. “This creates a feedback system which should stimulate better design and management of the built environment,” says Musa, who is doing an MPhil in Engineering.

Mariel Williams [2013]. She will speak about research into how to estimate human body mass and stature from skeletal remains. Mariel, who is doing an MPhil Human Evolutionary Studies, says knowledge about an organism’s body size gives significant insight into its ecological, behavioural and life history traits and has significant implications in terms of human evolution. She says: “Because body size has such an important bearing on many aspects of an organism’s existence, paleoanthropologists often infer many characteristics about fossil hominins based primarily on body mass estimates. However, body mass estimates for Homo species have varied greatly, with as much as 50% difference in size estimation for the same individual. This demonstrates the importance of more precise methods of body mass estimation with smaller margins for error.”

Her research investigates the three main methods used to estimate body mass and tests their accuracy using a modern female population.

Sarah Mummah. She will speak about how mobile and wearable technology can increase healthier eating and physical activity. Sarah is doing a PhD in Public Health and Primary Care at the Institute of Public Health. She says current health-promoting technologies are rarely evidence-based and few have been proven effective. Her research in collaboration with researchers from Stanford University Shcool of Medicine aims to develop a cost-effective, scalable mobile application for improving health outcomes. The products draws on interdisciplinary research insights from psychology, public health and behavioural economics to promote healthier eating. The app is being tested  in a large-scale, randomised trial funded by the National Institutes of Health.

By next year, the researchers are looking to be able to demonstrate the effectiveness of the app in influencing dietary habits, physical activity, cholesterol levels and BMI.  Sarah is also evaluating the potential for activity-tracking Fitbit wristbands to help individuals increase their levels of physical activity and reduce their BMI. She says: “Ultimately, as technology adoption continues to accelerate, learning how to leverage mobile and wearable technology to encourage healthier behaviours could help turn the corner on the obesity epidemic and healthcare crisis.”

Picture credit: renjith krishnan and www.freedigitalphotos.net.

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. […]