Rebekah Scheuerle is a second-year Gates-Cambridge Scholar at St John’s College. She is undertaking a PhD in the BioScience Engineering Group in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology.
The infant annual mortality rate exceeds 4.8 million and many leading causes of child mortality are largely preventable with safe and easy to administer medications. Therefore, there is a need for development of novel infant drug delivery and dosing methods. We are developing the nipple shield delivery system (NSDS) as a response to this need.
Rebekah is developing a nipple shield device that allows crucial medication to be delivered to infants while they are feeding. She is working with JustMilk, a non-profit organisation that is commercialising the medical device she is developing in her doctoral work.
The system, when worn by a mother during breastfeeding, releases medications or nutrients from an insert such as a tablet, into milk consumed by the infant, simultaneously dosing and delivering the active pharmaceutical ingredients. This could potentially provide a more hygienic, effective means of administering life-saving medications and nutrients to infants, while simplifying the dosing process.
Rebekah says she has found a strong entrepreneurial culture at the University of Cambridge and the University has provided "vast support" for her professional interests.
Rebekah is supported by a Gates-Cambridge Scholarship, a prestigious, highly competitive full-cost scholarship awarded to outstanding applicants from countries outside the UK to pursue a full-time postgraduate degree. The programme aims to build a global network of future leaders committed to improving the lives of others.
"I am very humbled and grateful to be a Gates Cambridge Scholar. Without this funding, it would not have been possible for me to come to the University of Cambridge," said Rebekah.
"The Gates Cambridge Scholarship comes with more than funding though; it comes with access to an engaging and supportive community of highly motivated and inspirational people. It is very unique to be surrounded by people with such diverse expertise, and I am privileged to learn from them. Through the support and friendships I have gained, I have found that I have had many interests outside of my technical field develop."
The Gates Cambridge Scholarship also provides for scholars to attend conferences around the world and last year paid for Rebekah to attend USAID Saving Lives at Birth DevelopmentXChange in Washington DC.
"This was an incredible opportunity, and also doubly beneficial as this gave me an opportunity to visit my family while in the US. This was very much appreciated as this is my first time living abroad."
The Gates Cambridge Trust truly enables scholars to take on world-changing projects. Through providing support to scholars to study the diverse fields available at the University, academic research, patents, start-up companies, social programmes, and other societal contributions are enabled.
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