Yale alumna, senior win prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarships
Yale alumna Maya Juman ’20 and senior Jennifer Miao ’22 are among 23 U.S. citizens who have been selected to be part of the 2022 class of Gates Cambridge Scholars at the University of Cambridge.
They, along with about 60 scholars from other parts of the world who will be announced in the spring, will begin their study at Cambridge in October, joining a community of almost 300 current Gates-Cambridge Scholars already in residence at the world-class British university.
Juman, Miao, and the other scholars, who were selected for their outstanding academic achievement and social leadership, will receive full tuition toward their study and research in any subject at the University of Cambridge. The postgraduate scholarship program was established through a $210 million donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000.
“The last year has been another difficult one for all of us and has shown how many of the challenges we face require a global response which draws on a range of disciplines,” said Barry Everitt, provost of the Gates Foundation Trust. “… We know that these scholars — and those we announce in early April from other parts of the world — will flourish in the rich, international community at Cambridge and go on to make a significant impact in their fields and to the wider global community.”
Jennifer Miao will pursue a Ph.D. in biological science at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology at Cambridge. Her interest in structural biology began when she was in high school, where, using x-ray crystallography, she studied peptide segments that form the core of infectious prion fibrils. For this research, she was invited to give a talk at the 2019 CCP4 Study Weekend at Nottingham University in the United Kingdom. At Yale, she is majoring in molecular biophysics and biochemistry, and has conducted research on membrane protein insertion at the endoplasmic reticulum.
“At Cambridge, I will study how the mitochondria, an essential organelle in nearly all eukaryotic cells, imports more than 1,000 proteins from the cytosol,” Miao said. “This project could lead to a better understanding of how defects in mitochondrial metabolism cause various human neurodegenerative and metabolic diseases and to the design of novel therapeutics targeting mitochondrial metabolism.”
Maya Juman majored in ecology and evolutionary biology at Yale, where she conducted research on Southeast Asian mammal biogeography and worked at the Yale Peabody Museum. In 2020, after graduating from Yale, she joined the Philadelphia Department of Public Health as a COVID-19 response coordinator, assisting with contact tracing and data management efforts. This year, she is studying deforestation in Malaysia with the support of a Fulbright Fellowship. At Cambridge, she will pursue a Ph.D. in biology in the Department of Veterinary Medicine.
“My research will explore the disease ecology and conservation of the wild bat populations, with a focus on modeling anthropogenic drivers of zoonotic emergence,” Juman said. “This work will inform solutions to both biodiversity loss and future pandemics, particularly in regions with threatened habitats, high viral spillover risk, and limited health infrastructure.”
Since the first class of Gates Cambridge Scholars in 2001, 2,003 individuals from 111 countries have been awarded scholarships, including more than 200 from the United States.