Growing up in Austin, Melbourne, Beijing and Maryland, my life has been filled with shifting residences, but remaining unchanged is a deep curiosity for the miraculous gift of “mind” that distinguishes humans of all cultures. During my undergraduate studies in Neuroscience and Behavior at University of Notre Dame, I’ve found my passion for research in the neuroscience of consciousness and human intelligence. My PhD project at the MRC Brain and Cognition Unit investigates the neural networks associated with insight problem-solving, and I hope I can help reveal how our “intuition” works and inspire conversation across interdisciplinary fields. In an age marked by technology breakthroughs, my goal is to encourage more dialogue between neuroscience and artificial intelligence. I’m extremely honored to be part of the Gates Cambridge Scholars community, and I’m looking forward to beginning the next part of my journey with my fellow Gates Scholars and creating lasting impact on the world together.
University of Notre Dame Neuroscience and Behavior 2019
I grew up in Beijing, China and am currently completing my BS degree at the University of California San Diego in Biochemistry and Cell Biology. I have been fascinated by the link between genetic sequence and function ever since I first learned about the genetic code in high school. During my undergraduate studies, I investigated novel therapeutic strategies for the treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. This experience sparked my interest in immunology and also made me more aware of individual differences in genetic background as exemplified by the variability in drug response. At Cambridge, my PhD will focus on exploring the genetic specificity of the insect innate immune system at the molecular level. Invertebrate immunity is an important area of investigation, as insects are vectors for disease transmission, and they are well-characterized models for studying immunology and evolutionary biology. I hope to better understand the mechanisms linking genetic differences and susceptibility to infections, to contribute to a future of more targeted precision medicine. I am very excited to further my passion for Genetics with the Gates Cambridge Scholarship, and I am truly honored to join this vibrant community.
University of California,San Diego Art History/Theory/Criticism 2020
Furthering study in my chosen field up to the most advanced level is the best option and a worthwhile move in my path towards a career in engineering research. I hope that through my studies at Cambridge I can step by step reach the summit of my professional career.
I grew up in a small town in Lithuania. After high school graduation, I started my Bachelor's degree in Biotechnology at the University of Nottingham, where I grew up a lot as a personality and also further developed my interest in Biological sciences. My first exposure to scientific research was when I joined the iGEM Nottingham 2018 team. After that, I never left iGEM, and in 2020, I was selected as an iGEM ambassador for Europe supporting teams in 2020 competition and helping the iGEM community. My second important step was to join a laboratory at the University of Cambridge for the summer, where I learned all the necessary skills and decided that I want to pursue a PhD. During my PhD, I seek to understand the reactivation of neural stem cells, which has the potential to develop into therapies for brain repair after injury or neurodegenerative diseases. Becoming Gates Scholar is not only a huge honour but also a motivation to work hard towards becoming a great scientist and work even harder for the wellbeing of society.
The University of Nottingham BSc Hons Biotechnology 2020
Already as a school student in my hometown, Prague, I was fascinated by the ability of biological sciences to describe and even alter processes creating life itself. Moreover, I volunteered as a horse riding therapist for disabled children and witnessed their families investing hopes into scientific discoveries that could treat their children. This made me realise how powerful science is and motivated me to help others via scientific advancement. During my BSc at the University of Edinburgh I developed an interest in genetics and molecular biology. I was captivated by the speeding progress of this young field. I participated in diverse genetics research projects and spent two semesters at the University of Adelaide in Australia. These experiences enabled me to view the field from several perspectives and appreciate the wide applicability of molecular genetics with potential to impact agriculture, industry and medicine. During my MPhil at the University of Cambridge I studied axonal endoplasmic reticulum and the implications of its defects for the neurodegenerative disease, hereditary spastic paraplegia. I will continue investigating spastic paraplegias for my PhD in Cambridge Institute for Medical Research and hence pursue my long-term interest in neuroscience and human neuropathies. I aim to advance the understanding of spastic paraplegias which would enable their treatment in the future. I am honoured to do so as a member of the Gates Cambridge community.
The University of Edinburgh
University of Cambridge
A critical question that permeates history and the media of today is how and why people become radicalized. Growing up in the USA, Europe, and the Middle East, I was intimately aware that radicalization can emerge on all sides of conflict and so is not merely a product of a particular ideology or demographic. By combining cognitive neuroscience and experimental psychology to study the psychological processes that underlie radicalization to an ideology or group, my PhD will aim to address the gap in our understanding of the cognitive susceptibilities to internalizing a doctrine and a willingness to harm and self-sacrifice for an ideological cause. Through this research, I hope to bring a fresh perspective to questions which have been traditionally only dealt with in the social and political sciences, and thereby to shape interventional and educational programs aimed at identifying vulnerabilities to radicalization. I am excited and honoured to be a part of the Gates Cambridge community.
University of Cambridge
I was raised in Utah with a love for learning, teaching, building, and medicine. I liked to push the limits of what my community told me was possible; this led me to MIT, where I graduated in Mechanical Engineering. During a class activity at MIT, my knee was injured when a giant hamster wheel fell on top of me. This fueled my passion for studying medical challenges from a mechanical perspective. As an undergraduate, my research projects have included an assistive diaphragm for patients with respiratory muscle diseases through MIT and an implantable sensor for the brain at the University of Auckland. At Cambridge, my PhD research focuses on increasing the availability of gait analysis for injury diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring. My current research combines portable low-cost imaging techniques with biomechanical modelling to analyse motion patterns, detect abnormalities, and identify specific knee injuries in humans and dogs. This portable and low-cost method of gait analysis has the potential to enable GPs, physiotherapists, and other medical professionals to assess patient gait without the need for referral to specialized, expensive, and often overwhelmed gait clinics. This can help assess patients more quickly and reduce patient backlogs. This method will also enable at-home monitoring of patients as they recover from injuries, which can improve patient outcomes and ensure they stay on track for a normal recovery. As I pursue a PhD and academic career in biomechanics, I also want to continue mentoring and inspiring more girls to pursue their dreams in STEM fields. I am honored to be a part of the Gates Scholars community and look forward to learning and sharing all I can with this incredible group.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Mechanical Engineering 2020
I am participating in the Part III program in Applied Mathematics at Cambridge. I'm interested in the quantitative aspects of a wide range of topics--biology, sociology, and AI. I hope to explore the synthesis of these diverse topics at a fundamental level. I look forward to completing a Ph.D. after Part III.