Two CUHK Students Given the Esther Yewpick Lee Millennium Scholarship and the Gates Cambridge Scholarship to Pursue Neuroscience and Pharmacology Research in the UK
Rice Siu Yiu Ching, a recent graduate of B.Sc. in Biochemistry of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), has been awarded the University’s Esther Yewpick Lee Millennium Scholarship to pursue a DPhil in neuroscience at the University of Oxford in the coming new term. A recent graduate of B.Sc. in Molecular Biotechnology, Chris Ng Tin Long, has been awarded the 2021 Gates Cambridge Scholarship by the Gates Cambridge Trust to take a PhD in Pharmacology at the University of Cambridge.
Rice once had to suspend her studies during junior secondary school due to insomnia until her health condition improved later in her senior years. She worked hard to catch up on her studies and was finally admitted to B.Sc. in Biochemistry at CUHK which she had been longing for. Rice appreciated the strong academic and scientific research atmosphere in the University which provides students with many opportunities to engage in research. While at CUHK, she participated in a number of research projects related to protein structures of Helicobacter pylori and influenza viruses led by the faculty’s professors. The School of Life Sciences arranged for her to study abroad at the University of California, Berkeley and she had an opportunity to participate in a research on the technology of expansion microscopy used for cell analysis at its Advanced Bioimaging Centre. She also learned much in a laboratory at the Academia Sinica when she paid a one-month visit to the National Taiwan University. These valuable and eye-opening experiences inspired her to devote herself to scientific research. Rice also served as a student assistant organising seminars on campus to help junior students who were not able to attend laboratory classes during the pandemic to learn more about the work of experimental research.
Rice expresses her heartfelt gratitude to her teachers for their careful guidance and support, enabling her to be selected for the Esther Yewpick Lee Millennium Scholarship to pursue a DPhil in neuroscience at Oxford, a place where many neuroscience experts have come from. Rice said, “I tried my best to fight against insomnia. With the guidance from doctors, my insomnia came under control and I was able to enjoy my study at university. My sleep health was not come by easily so I understand the helplessness encountered by patients with insomnia. I hope from my study to unveil more of the unknown about the neural circuitry and sleep mechanism, in turn benefitting more people in need with academic research.” Rice will be working closely with distinguished researchers in neuroscience at Oxford to study the mechanism of neural circuits system in the brain.
Chris is one of the 74 outstanding scholarship recipients from 30 countries being selected for the 2021 Gates Cambridge Scholarship, for his outstanding academic performance and commitment in research. Chris’ mother is a nurse who has sparked his interest in the study of biology and medicine since he was a child, but he had never given a thought about the way forward. Not until Chris got into CUHK was he surprised to know for the first time that protein structure is closely related to the formation of diseases. Through the lively classes given by his course instructor Professor Wong Kam Bo, Chris started to learn about how the structure and mechanism of protein can give a glimpse of the characteristics of diseases and help to develop therapeutic drugs. Later, Professor Wong got to know of Chris’ passion in research at an exchange activity held by S.H. Ho College. He invited Chris to participate in his laboratory research, which has also inspired Chris’ keen interest in studying the subject of protein. He was also engaged in other research projects conducted at the University of California, Berkeley during an overseas study arranged by the School, and had an internship at a biotechnology company in Hong Kong to accumulate practical experience for his research path.
To Chris, research study is an interest and he is proud of it. He will join the laboratory of Professor Laura Itzhaki, an authority in medical drugs at the University of Cambridge, to explore the modification of proteins structure for developing drugs against cancer cells and immune system diseases. Chris said, “I am delighted and surprised to be one of those selected for the Gates Cambridge scholarship programme as it attracts outstanding students from all over the world to compete in. Drug therapy is an important means to control the condition of disease and cure disease. I hope that my research will contribute to cancer treatment and drug development in the future.”
The Esther Yewpick Lee Millennium Scholarship
The Esther Yewpick Lee Millennium Scholarship, tenable at the University of Oxford, was established with funds from the estate of the late Dr. Esther Yewpick Lee, whose family has had strong connections with and affection for both CUHK and Oxford. The award amounting to over HK$1 million fully sponsors the scholar to study a postgraduate programme, covering the University and College tuition fees at Oxford, a return ticket between the UK and Hong Kong in economy class, and a personal allowance to take care of board and lodging, for a maximum period of 3 years. It is offered to young prospective leaders who meet the academic criteria, possess a curious and adventurous mind, hold moral integrity and caring attributes, and demonstrate the potential to contribute to the well-being of the community.
About The Gates Cambridge Scholarship
The Gates Cambridge Scholarship was established with a US$210 million donation to the University of Cambridge from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000, managed by the Gates Cambridge Trust. It aims to help outstanding overseas scholars to study at Cambridge, with over 2,000 scholarships given to scholars from 111 countries representing more than 600 universities globally since its inception. The scholarship judges candidates’ intellectual ability, leadership potential, commitment to improving the lives of others, and choice of course. It covers the full cost of studying a postgraduate programme at Cambridge for selected scholars. The tuition fee of the PhD pursued by Chris, and a living allowance, amounting to a total of approximately 50,000 pounds per year (about HK$550,000), for up to 4 years. It also provides support for participation in research activities.