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Amy Jin named 2021 Gates Cambridge Scholar

MIT senior will pursue graduate studies at Cambridge University.
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Headshot photo of Amy Jin standing on a beach and wearing a fleece jacket
At Cambridge University, Amy Jin, MIT's 2021 Gates Cambridge Scholar, plans to conduct research in bioelectronics to develop medical technology for treating neurological disorders.
Photo courtesy of Amy Jin.

MIT senior Amy Jin has won the prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship, which offers students an opportunity to pursue graduate study in the field of their choice at the University of Cambridge in the UK. Jin will join the other 23 U.S. citizens in being members of the 20th class of scholars.

Jin, from Pleasanton, California, is completing double majors in biological engineering and electrical engineering and computer science. During her time volunteering as an aquarist at the New England Aquarium, she became fascinated by the power and cruelty of evolution. She wishes to harness the power she observed in natural phenomena, such as the “virgin birth” she witnessed of a baby green anaconda, to inspire engineering designs related to human health. At Cambridge, she plans to conduct research in bioelectronics to develop medical technology for treating neurological disorders.

Her studies at Cambridge will build upon her undergraduate research in the Langer and Traverso labs, where she has worked on evaluating polymer hydrogel drug delivery systems and designing microbiome-based therapies that target inflamed parts of the gastrointestinal tract. In fall 2019, she began work in the Bathe Lab, which uses DNA and RNA to engineer new nanoscale materials for therapeutics and computing. Jin specifically worked on DNA storage and computation. Professor Mark Bathe says, “I was thrilled to learn of the wonderful news that Amy received the Gates Cambridge Scholarship. Amy combines the highest levels of creativity, technical and intellectual depth and breadth, leadership, and motivation for her work to impact society — I cannot imagine a more deserving candidate for this prestigious award.” She is also a NEET Living Machines scholar.

Jin has been an active volunteer at the New England Aquarium and a garden chair for UA Sustainability. She was a member of Terrascope, a first-year learning community that tackles a global issue related to sustainability. She has volunteered with the Petey Greene Program, providing tutoring to incarcerated people. She participated in MIT’s service center Criminal Justice Immersion Program, which brought students to local detention centers, trials courts, and the Massachusetts attorney general’s office. She worked for the Massachusetts Trial Court as a recidivism analyst. She worked as an extern with the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Glaucoma Clinic and has been dedicated to the HMS Family Van, which performs free health screenings in their mobile clinic. She is an Emerson piano scholar and participates in the MIT Chamber Music Society.

Jin was advised in her application by Kim Benard of the Distinguished Fellowships team in Career Advising and Professional Development, who remarks, “Amy represents the best of MIT, pursuing scientific research with passion and excitement. She applies the lessons she has learned volunteering with the aquarium to create innovative solutions for human health. But even more than her abilities in science, she has demonstrated remarkable empathy and compassion for others, demonstrated through her volunteer activities.”

Established by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000, the Gates Cambridge Scholarship provides full funding for talented students from outside the United Kingdom to pursue postgraduate study in any subject at Cambridge University. Since the program’s inception in 2001, there have been 32 Gates Cambridge scholars from MIT.

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