From Tasmanian Devils to bone regrowth

Four Gates Cambridge Scholars will present their research at this year's annual symposium on 5th May.

Four scholars will talk about their research, ranging from the conservation of Tasmanian Devils to bone regrowth, at the annual symposium before the Gates Cambridge Trustees on 5th May.

Zenobia Ismail [2013], who is doing a PhD in Politics and International Studies, will talk about recent Zambian politics and the failure of multi-party democracy to address endemic problems.
The talk, The Alternation Fallacy: Continuity and Co-option in Zambia’s 25 years of Multi-Party Politics, draws on Zenobia’s research on the dominant party states in southern Africa which are hybrid regimes. Zambia is one of very few countries where a dominant party has been ousted in 1991 and 2011. Zenobia says that, despite this, democratisation has not progressed.  She says: “New ruling parties soon resemble their predecessors and exploit the weak institutions which they inherit to consolidate power.  I argue that self-reinforcing mechanisms such as the constitution, patronage and the political culture undermine reform after alternation.   Moreover the parliament and judiciary are used to co-opt or intimidate members of the opposition, thus enabling incumbents to strive for dominance.”

Isabella Gariboldi [2014], who is doing a PhD in Materials Science and Metallurgy, will talk about her research into one of the key challenges for growing artificial bone: the ability to implant porous biomaterial structures or scaffolds so they integrate and interact with the body by modulating the behaviour of cells. The talk, Vascularising Bone Substitute Materials: Uncovering the Role of Micro-Architecture, will describe her research into the role of structural architecture (at the 100 um scale) in controlling and directing the growth of blood vessels into scaffolds. She says: “The aim of developing micro-architecture design principles for more efficient vascularisation is to inform future refinement of fabrication technologies, such as 3D printing, so that the idea of ‘growing’ artificial bones comes closer to reality.”

Maximilian Stammnitz’s talk The Devil’s DNA is about his research into a form of cancer which affects the conservation of Tasmanian Devils. Tasmanian Devils are the world's largest carnivorous marsupials, providing valuable ecosystem functions within their habitat. However, since the mid-1990s, their numbers have fallen significantly due to outbreaks of contagious clonal facial cancers. His research compares the genetics between transmissible tumour cells and healthy animals through a next-generation DNA sequencing approach.  Maximilian [2016] is doing a PhD in Veterinary Science.

Safwan A. Khan [2016] will speak about his four-week placement at the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC), State Government of Victoria, Australia, and its work into establishing an evidence-based policy base for ensuring that programmes have value for money and are effective in achieving their intended outcomes. His research for his MPhil in Public Policy compares the approach taken in Victoria with evidence-based policy work in the UK.

*The symposium takes place at 2:30pm on 5th May in the Gates Cambridge Scholars Common Room.  Scholars and their guests are welcome. Picture credit: Wiki Commons.