UNSW lecturer and alumna Aditi Vedi has been awarded a prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship to research the functional biology of stem cells to improve survival outcomes for children with leukemia.
Competition for the prestigious international scholarships is fierce. Vedi, a medical doctor, was one of only 54 successful candidates from 28 countries, including eight Australians, selected from 3,535 applicants. Dr Vedi is one of only thirteen scholars funded for a PhD.
Dr Vedi’s research will investigate the role of gene networks and therapy to maintain remission and prevent relapse in children with leukemia.
“Despite increasing cure rates for children with leukemia, relapsed disease still carries a poor prognosis,” Dr Vedi said.
“By selectively targeting transcription factors and networks in leukemic stem cells with new therapies to maintain their inactive state, we hope to improve survival outcomes for children with leukemia.
“This research represents an exciting new treatment approach for childhood leukemia.”
Leukemia is the most common cancer in children and teens, accounting for almost one out of three cancers.
Dr Vedi is a Conjoint Associate Lecturer with UNSW’s School of Women and Children’s Health and is now a clinical fellow with the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust in the United Kingdom. She completed a Bachelor of Medicine/Surgery (MBBS) with Honours at UNSW, graduating in 2007.
She will join 1400 other Gates Cambridge scholars from more than 100 countries when she begins her PhD in Medical Science at the University of Cambridge in October 2015.
“After completing my PhD my goal is to continue paediatric stem cell research in Australia as a clinician scientist,” Dr Vedi said.
The Gates Cambridge Scholarship program was established in October 2000 by a donation of $210m from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to the University of Cambridge, the largest ever single donation to a UK university.
Gates Cambridge scholars are selected on the basis of their intellectual ability, leadership capacity, academic fit with Cambridge and their commitment to improving the lives of others.