The idea of harnessing the immune system to treat cancer is fascinating to me. Moreover, during my medical training in Nigeria, I was deeply moved by the experiences of cancer patients, especially with the very limited treatment options available. This combination of curiosity and compassion inspired me to pursue a career at the intersection of excellent patient care and cutting-edge cancer research. I subsequently received the Clarendon scholarship for a Masters at the University of Oxford, with my research on the innate immune cGAS-STING signaling in cancer. At Cambridge, I will join the de la Roche group to explore how hedgehog signaling is orchestrated in different subsets of gamma-delta T cells during the antitumor response. Mechanistic insights from this work, and others, will potentially enable better design of advanced cellular therapies, bringing hope to numerous patients. Ultimately, I plan to contribute significantly to efforts aimed at expanding access to transformative therapies in Africa, and alleviate the unacceptable disparities currently observed. I feel incredibly honored to join the Gates Cambridge community and look forward to an enriching experience with other young leaders from across the world.
University of Oxford Integrated Immunology 2021
University of Ibadan Medicine and Surgery 2019
Passionate about delivering quality health care to all, I came to Stanford with the intention of taking up a career in health care . Pursuing a bachelor’s in biology, a master’s in biomedical informatics, and genomics research equipped me adequately to understand the role of genome mutations in disease processes. At the McDonnell Genome Institute at Washington University, I searched sequencing and expression data for patterns in tumor suppressors and oncogenes that caused cancer. At Stanford, I studied translational allelic-specific expression in human lymphoblastoid cells. The complexity of our genome fascinated me, and I garnered a desire to understand ways in which genome could be modified disease processes. With increasing availability of sequencing data, it is important to gain the skills to analyze and interpret this data meaningfully for a future of genetics-driven, preventative, personalized medicine. Thus at Cambridge, I will pursue a Masters of Philosophy in Genomic Medicine exploring ways to incorporate sequencing data and technologies directly into patient care delivery. After Cambridge, I plan to do an MD/Ph.D, which will enable me to deliver health care in innovative ways to my local community and bring personalized medicine to bedside globally. Outside academics, I am the founder of Stanford Music and Medicine, an organization that recruits Stanford students to use music as a form of therapy for nursing home residents. I also work for a non-profit that develops arts-based science supplemental lesson plans for middle school students in East Palo Alto. In my free time, I love singing in the shower, hiking, and horror films.
Originally from India, I graduated in May 2016 with B.S. in Biological Sciences and B.A. in Psychology from The State University of New York at Buffalo, USA. For my PhD, I studied mechanisms of inflammatory knee pain in the lab of Dr. Ewan St. John Smith at the Department of Pharmacology. Currently I am a Alexander von Humboldt fellow researching how we perceive touch at the Max Delbrueck Center for Molecular Medicine in Berlin, Germany. I am also passionate about educational equality and hope to work with organizations around the world, especially in developing countries, to make quality education available to all. I am honoured and excited to become a member of the vibrant and compassionate Gates Cambridge community where scholars from across the world share the vision of making a difference in the world.
University at Buffalo
Growing up in Hong Kong, I enjoy trekking through the city’s subtropical countryside. From a young age, I developed a passion to study and protect the wildlife I encounter. I completed my undergraduate studies and started my MPhil project at the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge. At Cambridge, I realized how climate change, habitat degradation, and forest loss are not only threatening millions of species living in natural systems, but also destabilizing the environmental conditions that human civilization is built on. New technologies in remote sensing are starting to revolutionize our understanding of large scale patterns in forest ecology. During my PhD, I wish to utilize these newly available remote sensing datasets to study how forests resist and recover from extreme weather events, which are made more frequent by climate change. My hope is that such research will allow us to more efficiently manage natural systems and better control carbon emissions from tropical forests.
University of Cambridge Biological Science 2019
University of Cambridge Natural Sciences 2018
I graduated as a veterinarian from Tribhuvan University in Nepal (2015) and have been since working in the field of zoonotic diseases and One Health. Although a veterinarian, I chose epidemiology and public health rather than being a hospital clinician treating individual patients because through this approach I believe I can make a bigger impact on the population of both humans and animals. I've worked with various infectious diseases throughout my brief career, but the disease which I am obsessed with is Rabies. I have seen many lives lost due to it and it's a shame that although there are perfect prevention methods available, it still plagues the communities. I am currently running a Rabies control program (0.30 project) in Nepal through my organisation Center for One Health Research & Promotion (COHRP) which involves mass dog rabies vaccination, community awareness, and KAP surveys. I recently (2019-20) completed my MPhil in Veterinary Science from Cambridge where my project dealt with animal rabies and free-roaming dog population situation in Nepal.
University of Cambridge MPhil in Veteirnary Science 2020
TUAT Veterinary moleculardiagnostic 2018
Tribhuvan University B.V.Sc. and A.H. 2015
I was born and brought up in South India. I chose to pursue bioengineering as an undergraduate to study the human body from the perspective of a structure-function relationship defined within a mathematical framework. As part of my Masters in biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins, I worked on developing a polymer based gene delivery therapy for brain tumours and explored ways of making this technology available to patients. As a PhD student in Chemistry at Cambridge, I hope to work on developing biophysical tools to better understand and elucidate the protein chemistry and associated toxicity in neurodegenerative diseases. However, in many parts of the world, there is a large gap between the availability and financial accessibility of life-changing technologies. This has been partly informed by my upbringing in India and my work with non-profits developing public health interventions. As part of the Gates Cambridge community, I aspire to address this gap by working at the intersection of research and social entrepreneurialism to improve the standard of care in low and middle income countries.
University of California Riverside
Johns Hopkins University
I aim to analyse the Enlightenment philosopher Kant’s concept of “cognition” (“Erkenntnis”). For Kant, “cognition” has a central programmatic role: Kant’s overall aim is to delineate the extent to which we humans can “cognise” the world. Until recently, it was widely assumed that “cognition” is simply a form of “knowledge.” Yet, recent research shows that Kant’s notion of “cognition” does not quite fit any available account of “knowledge.” Hence, to understand Kant’s so-called “transcendental idealism,” a new interpretation of his concept of “cognition” is needed. I intend to fill this gap. The results will be valuable not only for historians of philosophy but also for society at large. Through analysing fundamental epistemic notions, we can better understand our epistemic practices and their value. For instance, the prevalence of “fake news” in social media demonstrates the need for a deep understanding of the respective values of truth, authenticity, and reliability. Before taking up this project, I read Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at King’s College London and later completed the MPhil in Philosophy at Cambridge. I am deeply honoured and humbled to be a part of the Gates Cambridge community.
King's College London (University of London) Philosophy, Politics & Econom. 2018
My Princeton University and Columbia University degrees weren’t the first to teach me that inequity in education opportunities and outcomes is wide-spread, yet poorly-addressed. Writing my college and scholarship essays on my smartphone and having my mother bus me to the best free advanced academic programs available outside my neighborhood taught me that. When coupled with biases in technology that scholars like Ruha Benjamin, Joy Buolamwini, and Timnit Gebru expose, the future of EdTech and its ability to widen educational divides and be complicit in anti-Black racism is concerning. This conviction will guide my Cambridge PhD research as I investigate the use of EdTech applications by out-of-school youth (OSY). In meditating on what I aim to accomplish in the realm of EdTech, I ultimately start by questioning and analyzing how we adapt technology to students’ learning needs, working alongside students to design interventions. Moreover, I will grapple with how education can be made more equitable and how research is more than a distorted reflection imagined by outsiders studying communities unfamiliar to them. Rather, it’s an interrogation of how the Western world relinquishes agency and legitimacy to these communities.
Being a Gates Scholar has been one of the defining moments of my life so far, and I am delighted to have the opportunity to remain engaged as Co-Chair of the Gates Cambridge Alumni Association. After earning my MPhil in Pharmacology, I completed my PharmD at the University of Kansas and made a critical decision to switch fields from the pharmaceutical sciences to global health. For two years, I worked at the Access to Medicine Foundation, a global health non-profit based in Amsterdam that assesses the policies, commitments, and actions of some of the largest global pharmaceutical companies in ensuring access to medicine for patients in low- and middle-income countries. My role as the R&D lead on the Access to Medicine Index involved dissecting the pipelines of 20 pharmaceutical companies and challenging companies to ensure that these projects were available as quickly and broadly as possible through systematic and advance access planning during clinical development. I am currently a PhD student in International Health at Johns Hopkins University with the goal of advancing access to innovative health technologies.
University of Kansas
I became interested in the brain and mind when I was diagnosed with epilepsy at age 13. I pursued a BA in Psychology at Ryerson University, where I became interested in the development and treatment of cognitive biases in mood disorders. While volunteering on the Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) Unit of Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, I developed an interest in designing treatments for cognitive and emotional difficulties in individuals with an ABI that account for their unique impairments. To further my knowledge of ABI, I obtained an MSc in Rehabilitation Science at McMaster University. Many people with an ABI have symptoms of depression, but available methods of treating mood disorders such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy fall short because they rely heavily on domains often compromised in ABI, such as mental flexibility, comprehension, and memory. As a student in the Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, I will investigate whether depression in ABI can be treated by increasing engagement in positive activities, and whether this treatment can be enhanced through cognitive training to facilitate planning and engagement in such activities. If effective, this research could immediately influence rehabilitation services worldwide.
While Archimedes chose a lever and fulcrum, I would pick data and the right question. Properly directed analytics really can move the world. That’s why I so passionately believe in making vital data skills and tools available to everyone, whether you are starting from the beginning or seeking to take it to the next level. This passion is voiced in my analytic education and consultancy business, Merakinos. My goal with Merakinos is to advance how we use data, with a special focus on those people and organizations new to the analytics space. Together we can transform the world, one data-inspired decision at a time.
Energy infrastructure fascinates me. So much of society is built around and is dependent on our energy supply. Over the years, the way we access energy has repeatedly been revolutionised. Now, we are painfully aware that a complete revolution is again necessary. The energy sector of South Africa, my home country, is not only unsustainably dependent on coal but urgently requires expansion to meet rising demand. This gives us a fantastic opportunity to develop our energy sector in a sustainable direction. During my MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development at Cambridge I will study the options available to developing countries and how we can implement the necessary changes. I will focus on the decentralisation of energy supply and solar electric power production. The practical aspects of sustainable development that this course teaches will build on the technical knowledge that I have gained through my undergraduate degree in chemical engineering and my professional experience in a small Namibian energy company. It is an exciting and dynamic time that we are living in. I am honoured to be joining the Gates Cambridge community: an inter-disciplinary cohort that are working to make that change positive.
University of Cape Town
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.
The University of Edinburgh
I am a biologist interested in how technology can be used to create healthier systems. From my experience of growing up in West Africa, I have been concerned about health systems in my country Nigeria and how they operate. More people die every year from preventable and treatable diseases than of terminal illnesses, and a good number of these diseases are hereditary. This influenced my undergraduate study of Genetics and biotechnology at the University of Calabar, Nigeria, to increase my understanding of the genetic basis of diseases, following which I garnered experience in the field as a graduate teaching and research assistant at the University of Calabar’s department of Genetics and Biotechnology for 2 years. I followed this up with an MSc in Biotechnology and Enterprise at the University of Manchester, UK, where I studied the different expression systems for producing pharmaceutical proteins, and factors that influence therapy, drug production, targeting, and distribution, as well as pricing and availability of such pharmaceutical products in different regions of the world, in order to evaluate which link in the chain presents the most vulnerability. My dissertation is focused on expressing a human protein in animal cells for functional studies and studies related to drug targeting with the hope that this will provide a means of production of inexpensive therapy for the ailments related to mis or overexpression of the protein. As a result of my passion for creating change, I have been actively involved in leading initiatives on preventive living through my non-profit initiative which focuses on vulnerable groups, especially women and girls in rural communities of Nigeria that suffer limited access to amenities. My study in the University of Cambridge will focus the spotlight on personalised medicine as a more sustainable approach to medicine for developing countries. In particular, I intend to study already existing health systems that incorporate genomic medicine with a view to understanding the underlying principles of personalized medicine and adapting this to the healthcare system in Africa.
With increasing global food demands, chronic hunger and coinciding crop damages, food security is an important issue that requires the attention from all corners of the world. Crop availability is constantly being challenged by multiple factors, including, but not limited to, environmental impact, pests, and pathogens. My current interest in promoting food security largely developed out of my MSc work on cassava, a staple food for Sub-Saharan Africans. As I pursue my PhD studies at Cambridge, I aim to better understand how plants could increase their resistance to pathogens, including viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Plants have defence mechanisms that counter the attacks imposed by the aforementioned pathogens. However, the exact methods employed by various plants are not entirely known up to date. Additionally, I hope to work at the interface between the scientific community and the public, by using my scientific knowledge and bridging the gap between the two communities.
Behind every brain MRI is a person with a unique set of traits, but accessing which brain features contribute to one’s behavior, in health and disorder, is an ongoing challenge. Curious about this, in high school I began developing neuroimaging methods, examining large publicly available fMRI datasets.
As an undergraduate at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, the potential of using mathematics to advance brain mapping within these datasets captivated me. I trained with the Geisinger-Bucknell Autism and Developmental Medicine Institute, learning how graph theory methods can help understand patterns of brain folding and function that relate to psychiatric and neurodevelopmental conditions. Working with labs at the NIH, the University of Miami, and Forschungszentrum Julich exposed me to a variety of imaging methods that can further capture the intricacies of the human brain.
In my doctoral studies in psychiatry at Cambridge, I will work in Prof. Ed Bullmore’s lab to study infant and adolescent development, combining graph theory analyses of brain folding and brain networks. I hope to contribute to the growing field of precision medicine, advancing treatments for disorders based on markers in the brain.
Bucknell University Neuroscience 2021
Growing up in a family that struggled to afford the costs of managing chronic health issues, I realised that poor health and other difficult life experiences often are intertwined. At Pomona College, I studied biochemistry and began to wonder about the biochemical underpinnings of the social determinants of health, which drive global health disparities. My passion for biochemistry grew over four years in the Sazinsky lab, where I discovered the structure of an enzyme that could make better nutrition available to many more people. In other work with Dr. Calderón-Villarreal of COLEF in Tijuana, Mexico, I combined chemical and anthropological approaches to reveal the socio-environmental determinants of poor health in a population experiencing homelessness. As a PhD student in the Reik and Balasubramanian labs, I focus on the molecular processes that control which genes are turned on (or off) to regulate development because adverse life circumstances (e.g., poverty, poor nutrition, and violence) often dysregulate these very processes to cause chronic disease. I am honoured to join the Gates Cambridge community of scholars in their efforts to bend the arc of academic research toward social justice.
Pomona College Chemistry 2020
This past year has certainly been a life altering and exciting one! It began by ushering in 2010 while paddling a dugout canoe in remote Sulawesi, undertaking a self-founded Australian Geographic sponsored expedition to raise awareness about living sustainably with fragile environments. After recovering from dengue fever it was off to South America to cycle through Patagonia and explore as much of the continent as possible, partially offsetting the costs by freelancing for Australian Geographic Outdoor magazine. However one of my most significant events of the year has been the generosity afforded to me by the Gates Cambridge Trust. The scholarship they have awarded me is now allowing me to do what I dreamed of: to study a PhD examining cooperative hunting and cognition at Cambridge. This is an immense privilege, and I plan to use what I learn to help positively influence public attitudes towards our world's imperiled natural environment.