Spring 2009: Of Note

Alexandra Kamins

animal interest: Biology major Alexandra Kamins 09C plans to study the transmission of disease between humans and animals.

Kay Hinton

Emory’s second Gates Scholar

Alexandra Kamins 09C has the “mind of a scientist, the heart of an activist, and the instincts of a diplomat,” says Dee McGraw, director of Emory’s National Scholarships and Fellowships program. “I have no doubt that she will make great contributions to our world.”

Kamins, a biology major, was one of thirty-six students in the United States—and about a hundred worldwide—to receive the prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship.

Established in 2000 with a $210 million donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the award provides for graduate study at the University of Cambridge in England.

Kamins will pursue a master’s degree in veterinary science and plans to study zoonoses—diseases that are transmitted between humans and animals.

“The odds are that the next pandemic will be one of these diseases, and I want to do my part to stop it,” says Kamins, a native of Centennial, Colorado.

Since coming to Emory, Kamins has spent time in Namibia, Botswana, and Kenya. She’s a member of INSPIRE, an undergraduate research program that emphasizes a multidisciplinary approach to science. And she has conducted research on “evolving” enzymes to better activate HIV/AIDS drugs and is examining the impact of human activities and structures on large mammals in Kenya. Her honors thesis explores whether insect communities share bacteria.

Kamins is the second Emory student to receive the Gates scholarship; the first was Colin Russell 99Ox 01C.