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Written by:
Paul Holland
25 Apr 2022

The Gates Cambridge Class of 2022 made up of 79 outstanding new scholars has been officially announced. Among them is Antonia Netzl, a Trinity Hall PhD (Zoology) candidate who is also one of the Gender Officers for the College’s MCR.

The Gates Cambridge scholarship programme is the University of Cambridge’s flagship international postgraduate scholarship programme.

It was established through a US$210 million donation to the University of Cambridge from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000; this remains the largest single donation to a UK university.

This year 79 new Gates Cambridge Scholars, from Uganda, the US and India to Colombia, China and Australia, will join the community when they start their studies in the autumn.

In addition to generous funding to do their research, with no age limit on candidates, they will benefit from the strong sense of community and identity that has been forged by their predecessors and an absolute commitment to improving the lives of others.

They come from 30 countries and are studying subjects ranging from food security and bat reservoirs for viral diseases to how gut hormones control food intake and blood glucose levels. The class comprises 41 women and 38 men.

Describing her life and her research Antonia said: “I grew up and obtained my BSc in Molecular Bioscience in Austria, a country where education is free. Realising the privilege of that, I am a strong advocate for just access to and distribution of resources, including the research produced in world-leading institutions such as Cambridge University.

“I want to use the opportunities that have been given to me to the benefit of other people. During my master’s degree in Systems Biology at the University of Heidelberg, I found in infectious disease research a scientific field which allows me to do that. In my PhD, I will use a computational model of the humoral immune response to investigate how prior and novel immunity interact upon exposure to evolving pathogens to improve vaccination strategies against SARS-CoV-2 and influenza.

“The past years demonstrated vaccines as the most potent tool for virus disease management, but more so that global crises cannot be thought in isolation. The COVID-19 pandemic took a disproportionate toll on the Global South, low-income households, and women, reinforcing traditional gender roles and thereby the dual burden of women. With my PhD work I aim to contribute to alleviating this toll.”

Professor Barry Everitt FRS, Provost of the Gates Cambridge Trust, said: “I am delighted to announce the class of 2022. 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. The Scholars-elect have been selected to reflect the mission of the Gates Cambridge Trust established through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s generous and historic gift to the University of Cambridge.

“Like their predecessors, this year’s cohort are an impressive and diverse group who have already achieved much in terms of their academic studies and leadership abilities and who have shown their commitment to improving the lives of others. We know that they will flourish in the rich, international community at Cambridge and will go on to make a significant impact in their fields and to the wider global community.”

*A list of the class of 2022 on the Gates Cambridge’s Directory page and a feature story on the announcement can be found on the University of Cambridge website.