The diverse and innovative realms of biomedical sciences and healthcare captured my imagination since my days at Karachi Grammar School. As I commenced my medical training at Cambridge, I was astounded by the complex collection of molecular machines and networks that formed an unlikely, harmonious cooperative: the human body. I periodically satiated my curiosity with research projects exploring proteins involved in cancer metastasis and novel prognostic tests for chronic liver disease. At Caltech, I also investigated human neural reference frames in Brain Machine Interfaces. This inspired a Part II in Neuroscience, which gradually revealed the dearth of approved medications for neural tumours. This burning necessity drove me to cofound a cancer therapeutics and drug delivery bio-startup, angioClast, which is developing a sophisticated treatment strategy for vascularised tumours. As an MB/PhD student, I hope to study the cryptic world of RNA and DNA modifications at the Kouzarides Lab. This hitherto unexplored field has groundbreaking implications for future therapeutics. During this program, I also hope to further delve into the fascinating fields of public health and health-tech. These interests were shaped by my forays into public policy for Neglected Tropical Diseases, and a micro-financing social venture featured at the Hult Prize Regional Final. In the future, I wish to discover synergies across the journey from bench to bedside, delivering innovative personalised medicine and effective public health interventions.
University of Cambridge
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.
With the average life expectancy increasing worldwide, the prevalence of neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s disease is predicted to double within the next generation. Despite this rising challenge to public health and numerous clinical trials, there is still no cure for this debilitating disease, highlighting the need for better preclinical models and increased translational research. This motivated me to join efforts unravelling the underlying molecular mechanisms of Parkinson’s during my Master’s thesis in Molecular Medicine at the University of Tübingen. To enable my research to bridge the gap from bench to bedside, I subsequently collaborated with AstraZeneca as a research assistant at the University of Oxford where I established a drug screening pipeline on patient derived cells and succeeded in identifying new drug candidates. For my PhD in Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Cambridge, I will employ a cellular 3D model of Parkinson’s disease involving human neurons and glia to continue deciphering the mechanisms driving disease in patient brains. I hope that using this clinically relevant disease model will facilitate the translation of preclinical studies into patient treatment. I am deeply honoured to have been selected for a Gates Cambridge scholarship and am looking forward to joining a community of scholars who aspire to use their academic abilities to improve the lives of others.
Eberhard-Karls-Universitat Tubingen Molecular Medicine 2019
Eberhard-Karls-Universitat Tubingen Molecular Medicine 2016
University of Michigan Psychology, Neuroscience 2015
Ben Cole matriculated at Cambridge as a Gates Scholar in 2011, where he was a member of Trinity College and served as the Communications Chair for the Gates Scholars Council. Before Cambridge, Ben was a Technology Pioneer for Google's emerging markets team and a data scientist at Facebook. Since graduating, Ben has worked as a product manager and product strategy consultant at a wide range of organizations including Google.org, Kickstarter, and a number of startups. In his spare time, Ben has enjoyed acting at the Metropolitan Opera of NY, serving as a driver in President Obama's motorcade, and hosting events in NYC and the Bay Area. He currently splits his time between San Francisco and Palo Alto, where he leads product at an AI startup called Instrumental.
After seeing firsthand how the law impacted the daily lives of women through the Undocumented Migration Project or on the National Human Trafficking Hotline, I felt compelled to study the construction of laws and the cultural attitudes which influence them. Through an MPhil in Gender Studies at Cambridge, I was able to explore how stereotypes about immigrants and sex workers impacted data gathering, victim assistance, and ultimately limited the scope of the UK Modern Slavery Act of 2015. I am humbled to be returning to the Gates Scholar’s Community to expand this project through a PhD in Gender Studies. By constructing a genealogy of anti-trafficking law stretching back to the White Slave Panics of the late 1800’s, I aim to show that anti-trafficking laws are currently constrained by xenophobic thought. It is my hope that this work will refocus anti-trafficking policy to human rights and survivor support as the most effective tools in combating trafficking. When not writing about human trafficking, I can be found baking, boxing, or fastidiously reorganizing my to-do lists.
University of Cambridge MPhil Gender Studies 2018
University of Michigan Bachelor of Arts Anthropology 2016
University of Pennsylvania BA English and Comparative Literature 2001
While studying at Carleton College in Minnesota and working as a park ranger at my local national park in coastal California, I found myself drawn to the unexpected connections between storytelling, history, environment, and justice. I centred my undergraduate and postgraduate research around these interdisciplinary interests, obtaining a B.A. in American Studies at Carleton and an M.Sc. in Environment, Culture and Society as an Avangrid Scholar at the University of Edinburgh. In my doctoral research in Geography at the University of Cambridge, I will study geographies, histories, and narratives of grey whale migration and conservation along the North American Pacific Coast. Through this work, I aim to examine how stories affect perceptions of historical encounters and outcomes of contemporary encounters, and to assess how storytelling interacts with issues of justice. In addition, I am passionate about public engagement, access, and accessibility. My interest in public engagement and access has been shaped by professional, academic, and service experiences, including volunteering as an environmental educator and education consultant, organizing Carleton’s first ‘BioBlitz’, serving as a resident assistant and public scholarship fellow at Carleton, supporting a local city council member’s environmental justice advocacy, and conducting independent research on environmental history, ethics, and aesthetics with Channel Islands National Park. As a Gates Cambridge Scholar, I hope to collaborate with other Scholars and Cambridge community members to promote equitable access to research, education, and storytelling.
University of Edinburgh Master of Science Environment, Culture & Society 2017
Carleton College Bachelor of Arts American Studies 2016
During my undergraduate studies at the University of Belgrade, School of Medicine, I have found myself taking an interest in the study of diabetes, being driven by the idea of improving the quality of lives of patients suffering from this disabling disease that affects millions of people everywhere around us. Impaired awareness of hypoglycaemia in many long-standing insulin-treated diabetic patients is one of the barriers separating them from achieving tight glycaemic control, which is imperative in reducing the occurrence and severity of micro and macrovascular complications. Throughout my MPhil at the University of Cambridge, Department of Medicine, I will focus on elucidating the mechanisms of blunted awareness of hypoglycaemia. Unravelling this problem would make a big step towards the start of development of therapeutic options to treat or even prevent it. I would be elated if my research and efforts contribute to this goal. It is an absolute honour to be a part of the Gates Cambridge community, comprised of inspiring and devoted scholars from all over the world, united for the greatest cause - improving the lives of others.
University of Belgrade
While growing up next to the library in Cockeysville, Maryland, I came to love stories. After reading hundreds of books, I consider the grandest origin story to be the curious saga of how we developed from a single cell into who we are today. Even more exciting to me is that this remarkable journey still has many questions left unanswered. To explore this further, I am pursuing a degree in Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology at Harvard University and conducting research in autism spectrum disorder and cortical development in the Arlotta Lab. Through this research and my coursework, I became interested in how the nervous and immune systems communicate with each other in sickness and in health. During my PhD at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, I will explore this theme in Andrew McKenzie’s group and I aim to interpret the dialogue between the nervous system and innate lymphoid cells. I hope that this research of fundamental interactions will empower the field to understand neuro-immune diseases better. I am immensely excited and grateful to join the vibrant and passionate community of Gates Cambridge Scholars.
Harvard University AB Developmental Biology 2019
As an undergraduate researcher at the Yale’s Center for Emotional Intelligence and Clinical and Affective Neuroscience Lab, I grew particularly interested in exploring the impact of psychosocial stress on neurological subsystems. In my capacity as director of the Yale Wellness Project, I helped design and conduct a large-scale study aimed at better understanding the role of stress in student life, and mitigating its more deleterious neural effects through the implementation of targeted interventional efforts. At Cambridge’s MRC CBU, my PhD will focus on exploring the neuroscientific relationship between stress and memory control, or, more broadly, motivated forgetting, through a combination of neuroimaging and molecular paradigms. From a clinical standpoint, memory control as such refers to a cognitive process that involves the active suppression of emotionally valent memories in response to environmental triggers, and thereby constitutes a barrier to negative affective states. This bears particular relevance to mental health science for the clinical treatment of mood and anxiety-related disorders. My goal is to better understand the mechanisms guiding the interaction between stress and motivated forgetting in an effort to inform potential treatment methodologies for psychological disorders by enhancing cognitive emotion regulation. I am profoundly honored to be a part of the Gates Cambridge community, and its network of scholars dedicated to bettering the human condition.
Yale University Bachelor of Science in Psychology 2018
During my Nanotechnology Engineering degree at the University of Waterloo, I have come to understand the importance of interdisciplinarity. Being taught everything from biochemistry to controls systems, my research background has been broad from photonic metasurfaces and plasmonic biosensors at Harvard to Bose-Einstein condensates at Cambridge, to muon physics at the Paul Scherrer Institute, and program management at Microsoft Japan doing coding work in machine learning. I will be pursuing a PhD in High Energy Physics at the ATLAS collaboration at Cambridge in the hopes of advancing our understanding of the universe beyond the standard model. My hope is that with a new breakthrough we will be able to stem a new blossoming of world-changing technology just like when Planck made his breakthrough 100 years ago. I am incredibly honoured to join the Gates Cambridge community, and as an interdisciplinary at heart, I am excited for the opportunities this community will give to stem new collaborations. Interdisciplinary collaborations with particle physics have yielded incredibly impactful results, from proton therapy for cancer treatment, to cosmic muon tomography for understanding how the Pyramids were built and the effects of global warming with respect to glacier melting. I also seek to address current issues in STEM outreach, such that we may ensure that every child can pursue their passion in spite of their cultural pressures.
University of Waterloo Nanotechnology Engineering 2019
Hong Kong University of Science & Technology Exchange 2017
While studying Human Geography and Sociology at the University of Toronto, my professors nurtured my interest in examining social inequality and segregation in urban space. I was inspired to contemplate justice-oriented visions of city building and analyze uneven development and political fragmentation within cities which are more pronounced now than ever. At Cambridge, my research will consider how citizen-led development can be employed as a tool for empowering the urban poor in the context of housing inequality and forced evictions from informal settlements in Pakistan. Specifically, I will investigate how cross-class alliances can enhance marginalized groups’ political claims-making abilities and help them assert their status as legitimate urban citizens. Urban theories and policies are largely based on the experiences of a select few cities in the Global North. In response, my scholarly aim is to highlight diverse Southern urban experiences, which will reveal important socio-political particularities about life in cities of the Global South. By inspiring policymakers and researchers, I hope to achieve a future where cities are not divided or fragmented but rather inclusive spaces of collaboration between residents. I am grateful and excited, and humbled most of all, to be joining a community of students who share a strong commitment to changing the world for the better.
University of Toronto Geography 2019
University of Toronto Human Geography, Sociology, Writing & Rhetoric 2018
Princeton University Molecular Biology, Applied and Computational Mathematics 2011
University of Oxford Biochemistry 2010
With undergraduate degrees in Italian and Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and past research experience in primate behaviour and orthopaedics, I might seem at first a bit of an unusual candidate for a PhD in Psychiatry. My interests in child and adolescent mental health and appreciation for population approaches to improving health and wellbeing developed through my work at Yale and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. I am particularly interested in understanding the role of schools in mental health promotion and prevention. In 2016-17, I completed my MPhil in Public Health at Cambridge with a research focus on the acceptability of school-based identification of mental health difficulties. For my PhD, I will continue to work with Professor Peter Jones, Dr Emma Howarth, and Professor Mina Fazel (Oxford) on this research as we design, implement, and evaluate different models of school-based identification. By increasing early identification rates, we hope to improve access to care and support for children and young people who are experiencing mental health difficulties and ultimately improve their long-term psychosocial outcomes. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to spend another three years in Cambridge surrounded by inspiring mentors, colleagues, and friends, and am honoured and excited to join the Gates Cambridge community!
University of Cambridge
Over years of studying literature, first as an undergraduate at St. Stephen's College, Delhi and then as a Master's student at the University of Oxford, I have developed an appreciation for the narratives that often go unheard. My work considers independent literary expression in India and turns to the ways in which writing and documentation can transform how we occupy, understand, and move in the world. By looking to minority voices, through scholarship and curatorial work, I hope to bring attention to the politics of artistic practice, building spaces that are are aware both of their potential and their responsibility.
University of Oxford World Literatures in English 2017
University of Delhi English 2016
Since childhood, I was always fascinated by developmental biology. I wanted to understand how a single cell could become a complex organism. After matriculating as an Honors Biology student at the University of Delaware, I joined Dr. Salil A. Lachke’s developmental genetics laboratory where I studied the role of RNA-binding protein-mediated post-transcriptional regulation in mammalian ocular lens development. Simultaneously, I explored my passions for education access and science advocacy. Since 2014, I’ve worked with Leading Youth Through Empowerment – a non-profit that offers accelerated coursework to high-achieving at-risk youth. I also participated in the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’s Advocacy Training Program through which I met with the offices of my senators and representative to advocate for science funding and education.At Cambridge, I will carry out my Ph.D. project in the laboratory of Dr. Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz studying the post-implantation development of human and mouse embryos. Post-implantation stages are referred to as the “black box” of development, and very little is known about these early stages when many pregnancies fail. Recently, Dr. Zernicka-Goetz’s group developed a culture system that opened this “black box” and I look forward to finding what lies within it. I am honored to join the motivated and interdisciplinary Gates Cambridge community.
University of Delaware Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences 2019
As a child who frequently visited the hospital, many questions about human health boggled my mind. Indeed, these curiosities lead me to the captivating world of the Medical Sciences. I was born and raised in Ogun State, southwestern Nigeria. In 2016, I obtained a full tuition fee waiver to study Biomedicine in Karolinska Institute, Sweden. I have spent my undergraduate summers carrying out research projects in various labs. My interest in cancer research developed during the later part of my education. With cancer being a global disease and a major cause of mortality worldwide, it is of paramount importance that we strive to speed up diagnosis and improve treatment. My PhD project at the MRC cancer unit involves the identification of candidate biomarkers that could be used in patient risk stratification for oesophageal cancer. It is my hope that by identifying these biomarkers, patients at risk can easily be identified and, therefore, be able to seek medical intervention at a very early stage before the disease progresses. At and beyond Cambridge, I hope to work on projects directed towards positively impacting health and lives of people including my home country, Nigeria and the world at large. I am truly humbled and beyond grateful to be part of such a prestigious international scholarship programme.
Karolinska Institute Biomedical Science 2019