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Green Templeton College | Oxford

Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine-GTC David Weatherall Scholarship

lucas grederBefore coming to Green Templeton College, I hadn't experienced rowing, or black-tie dinners, or Management in Medicine seminars, or the general intellectual veracity that surrounds GTC and the University. Frankly, without the support of GTC and the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, I would still lack these incredible experiences.

After completing a BS in Cell Biology in 2007, I assumed a sort of double life. I was a researcher by day at the University of Minnesota's Stem Cell Institute and a law school student at night. My intent was, and still is, to combine law and science, most likely in the field of patent law. I took this route because, having spent time in a research lab, I knew the pace could be slow and frustrating, but also very rewarding. I just wasn't quite so sure about the slow and frustrating part.

However, with some luck and hard work, our lab's discoveries helped move our field forward and served as the requisite motivation I needed to finally decide to pursue a childhood dream - a PhD. I completed law school in July 2013 and turned my attention back to the laboratory.

My supervisor, a native of the UK and former researcher at the University of Oxford, recommended I look at the UK for graduate schools.

As I began exploring my options, the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine (WIMM) immediately caught my attention. After a meeting with Director, Professor Doug Higgs, and an impromptu meeting with my future supervisor, Associate Professor Marella de Bruijn, I knew I wanted to be a part of the WIMM community of world-class facilities and world-class researchers.

However, before I could start at the WIMM, several hurdles stood in my way.

My status as an international student (originally from the US) made it challenging to gain admission to the University of Oxford and secure funding. Thankfully, luck played a part as this was the inaugural year for the Sir David Weatherall-Oxford Graduate scholarship - a partnership between GTC and the WIMM.

After being awarded the scholarship, with part funding provided by the Clarendon Fund, I began my research in Dr de Bruijn's lab in October 2013, leaving behind a career in patent law - at least for the time being.

Much like Sir David Weatherall, my scientific interests generally revolve around gaining an understanding of human disease at the molecular level with the goal of making that knowledge applicable in the clinic. Working in the Institute and donning the scholarship that both bear his name are truly an honour: an honour I hope to live up to in the coming years as I strive to make a contribution to field of molecular haematology.

Last year I decided to embark on what I hoped would be a life-changing experience. Between the early morning rowing sessions on the Isis, formal dinners, and research with world-class scientists, this past year has certainly exceeded all my expectations.

"Without the generosity of GTC and the WIMM, none of this would be possible. It is truly an honour to be able to attend the University of Oxford with such a prestigious scholarship."