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Three Indians among 50 new Gates Cambridge Scholars

April 12, 2012 15:54 IST

An Indian doctor who researches public health issues and a lawyer who worked for Justice Markandey Katju in New Delhi are among the 50 scholars selected from 23 countries for the prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarships for 2012.

The 50 successful candidates were selected from a total pool of 4,500 applicants on the basis of their intellectual ability, leadership capacity, academic fit with the University and their commitment to improving the lives of others, a university release said.

The three Indians selected are: Siddhartha Kar, who graduated with an MBBS from B J Medical College, Pune; Suhasini Sen, who graduated with a Law degree from Nalsar University, Hyderabad; and Anand Shrivastava, a continuing Gates scholar, who completed an M.Phil Economics from St Edmunds College.

Kar plans to study for a PhD in public health, concentrating on the genetic epidemiology of cancer.

He says, "My research will involve the application of exciting emerging technologies: high-throughput sequencing and bioinformatics. My experiences so far have left me profoundly conscious of global disparities in cancer care. I therefore aspire to use my education in cutting edge public health genomics from Cambridge, to eventually organize large-scale studies in India to further elucidate genetic risk factors for cancer".

The results of Kar's research are expected to inform the development of cost-effective personalised preventive and therapeutic interventions in cancer that are tailored to the needs of the community.

Sen will pursue a Master in Law programme with a focus on issues and tensions between public security and personal liberties.

Shrivastava, who graduated from IIT, Madras, will conduct doctoral research on the political economy of conversion of forest land for industrial use in India.

Seven of the new Scholars are from Canada, six from Australia, five from Germany, four from the US; three each are from India, Romania and Ireland and two each are from Kenya, Ghana and China.

The new Scholars include Palestinian education lecturer Mona Jebril, who had to deal with power cuts during her phone interview from the Gaza strip.

The new Scholars have attended 54 universities in total, 14 of which now have their first Gates Cambridge Scholar.

Departments in Cambridge ranked more than 350 candidates for the Scholarships and, of these, 110 were interviewed in late March at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge (in person, by Skype or by telephone).

Professor Robert Lethbridge, Provost of the Gates Cambridge Trust, said, "We are delighted to have awarded Gates Cambridge Scholarships to 50 outstanding individuals from over 20 countries in the International selection round. The Scholars come from diverse backgrounds and will pursue a wide range of subjects at Cambridge."

He added, "Most importantly, they fit the mission of the Scholarship: they convinced us at interview that they have real potential to improve the lives of others in a multitude of important ways. We look forward to welcoming all 90 outstanding new Scholars to Cambridge in October."

The Gates Cambridge Scholarship was established by the generosity of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000, with the first class arriving in Cambridge 2001. There are now more than 1,000 Scholars and Alumni from over 90 countries.

Prasun Sonwalkar In London
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