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Gates Cambridge Scholar Christopher Rae Prepares To Study In England

Yet another Penn State student is preparing to make his impact on the world.

Christopher Rae, a senior majoring in biochemistry, was recently awarded the Gates Cambridge Scholarship, an extremely competitive scholarship that gives students from around the world the opportunity to pursue graduate work at the University of Cambridge in England. Only 40 students are chosen from the United States out of the 755 that applied.

“The Gates Cambridge scholarship is about developing a global community and understanding the problems you want to tackle through different perspectives,” Rae said in a Penn State News article.

Rae is from Lock Haven, Pa. and is a senior in the Eberly College of Science. He is also a Gateway Schreyer Honors College student.

For the past two years, Rae has worked in the lab of one of his previous professors, Ken Keiler. He’s conducted experiments to identify new antibiotics to help treat MRSA. While working for Professor Keiler, Rae helped secure a five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health. He also received an American Society for Microbiology undergraduate research fellowship. The fellowship helped fund Rae’s research, allowing him to conduct it here at Penn State.

Rae had a goal for after graduation: to find a program that would allow him to travel to a different country. He is one of only 13 U.S. scholars pursuing doctoral degrees at Cambridge.

“I hope to apply what I learn to understanding how bacteria develop antibiotic resistance,” Rae said. “Thats the big problem I’m interested in someday helping to solve.”

Once Rae arrives at Cambridge, he will begin studying structural biology at the Medical Research Council’s Laboratory of Molecular Biology. He will be studying with Venki Ramakrishnan, a researcher at the laboratory and a winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Rae attributed much of his academic success to his time in State College.

“Being here at Penn State, I don’t think I could have had a better experience as an undergraduate, except I’ve always wanted to study abroad,” he said.

Photo: Patrick Mansell

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About the Author

Michael Salem

Hailing from Pittsburgh, PA, I am a Penn State senior majoring in print journalism with a minor in music performance. I'm a member of the Penn State Blue Band. Get at me by email [email protected], or twitter @m_salempsu


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