SANTHE produces first Gates Cambridge Scholar

Thursday, 11 April, 2019

SANTHE Masters trainee Isabella Ferreira, based at the Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) in Durban, South Africa, has been awarded a prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship to pursue her PhD in Medicine at the University of Cambridge, UK. She will be working there under the supervision of AHRI Faculty Member Professor Ravi Gupta.

For her Masters project, Ferreira worked at AHRI under the supervision of SANTHE Researcher/Supervisor Dr Alex Sigal, to identify the cellular HIV reservoir in lymph nodes. For her PhD project, she aims to expand on this work to understand how different cell types become permissive to HIV infection in the context of the HIV reservoir.

Around 6 000 students apply for the Gates Cambridge Scholarship annually. The Gates Cambridge Foundation short-lists 200 applicants, and this is followed by an interview round. 90 scholars were ultimately chosen for the class of 2019, from 37 different countries.

“The main focus of the Gates Cambridge Scholarship is a commitment to improving the lives of others. I think working and collaborating with like-minded people across all disciplines towards this greater goal through our research is what I am most excited about,” said Isabella.

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge and Chair of the Gates Cambridge Trustees, Stephen Toope, has described the Gates Cambridge scholars as an “extraordinary group of people” who have demonstrated both outstanding academic ability and a real commitment to changing the world for the better.

“It’s an incredible opportunity to network with future world leaders and people who are really committed to improving the lives of others – especially in the developing world,” added Isabella. “Being part of a community of incredible people from all over the world is amazing.  I have access to some of the world’s biggest leaders in the HIV field; this is both exciting and humbling.”