Story posted May 12, 2010
Tenzing Lama '10, of Vacaville, Calif., is one of only two students in the U.S. selected to receive a Keasbey Scholarship to study at Oxford University.
A biochemistry major at Bowdoin, Lama is planning to pursue a master of science degree in pathology, researching the molecular biology and biochemistry of parasites.
"I will be working on a parasite called Trypanosoma brucei, which causes the African sleeping sickness and claims up to half a million lives annually," says Lama.
"No safe and effective drugs exist for the treatment of this neglected disease; treatments currently involve an arsenic and anti-freeze compound, which needs to be injected daily and literally burns through your veins. The development of an effective drug therapy for trypanosomiasis will depend on a broader understanding of T. brucei at a molecular and cellular level. In simple terms, I will try to understand how a family of cytoskeleton-associated proteins called Cap5.5 function. This is important because if one were to knockdown a form of this protein, it becomes rapidly lethal. Therefore, Cap5.5 is an excellent target for an anti-trypanosome drug development."
After two years at Oxford, Lama plans to return to the U.S. and enroll in an M.D./Ph.D. program with a focus on infectious diseases. His long-term goal is to become a physician-scientist.
"I am extremely excited and thrilled to get this amazing opportunity, which would have never been possible without the help of those around me," says Lama, singling out the professors and friends who read various iterations of his application essay and Bowdoin's Student Fellowships and Research Office.
"Tenzing is a really amazing student and human being," says Director of Student Fellowships and Research Cindy Stocks, who cited Lama's training and subsequent work as a hospice volunteer, as well as his decision to spend spring break 2008 in Louisiana helping to rebuild the area devastated by Hurricane Katrina, in the College's letter of endorsement supporting his application.
About the Keasbey Scholarship
Marguerite Keasbey established the Griffith Keasbey and Anna Griffith Keasbey Memorial Foundation in 1953 to honor her parents. The Foundation awards the scholarships to support two years of study at selected British universities in the interest of promoting Anglo-American relations and providing Americans with an opportunity to experience the British educational system.
Keasbey Scholars are selected based on academic excellence, active participation in extracurricular activities, leadership abilities and personal promise.
Keasbey Scholarships are available on a rotating basis to students from only 12 of the top colleges and universities in the U.S.: Amherst, Bowdoin, Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Haverford, Middlebury, Princeton, Swarthmore, Wesleyan and Yale. The award supports two years of study at one of four British Universities: Oxford, Cambridge, University of Edinburgh, or University College of Wales at Aberystwyth.
Bowdoin students may apply just once every three years.