Originally from Bulgaria, I moved to the UK six years ago when I was awarded the HMC scholarship to study at a British boarding school – Dollar Academy. I first became interested in the clinical neurosciences last summer during my research experience at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology where I worked on a mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and on advancing some of the current tools available for gene therapy. My interests were further developed through my dissertation project which I am about to finish as part of my undergraduate degree at Edinburgh University, in which I characterised some of the major pathological changes in a novel mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. Today I look forward to starting my PhD degree in Prof. James Fawcett’s laboratory in Cambridge where I will be exploring what goes wrong inside nerve cells upon spinal cord injury and will hopefully be able to design new strategies to repair the damage. My ultimate aim is to enhance the understanding of the neurodegenerative and regenerative processes in the brain and to provide improvements to the diagnosis, treatment and quality of life of the affected individuals and their families. I am also passionate about scientific communication and I have been involved in writing for the Science and Environment section of the Student newspaper over the past few years. I hope that as a Gates scholar, I will be able to reach out to communities and bridge the gap between scientists and the public.