Natrajan named 2011 Gates Cambridge Scholar

University  of Georgia Honors student Muktha Natrajan of Martinez has received a 2011 Gates  Cambridge Scholarship. She is among a group of 30 U.S. recipients selected for  the international postgraduate scholarship and is the fifth UGA student to  receive the award since 2001.

  Natrajan,  who is a UGA Foundation Fellow, is pursuing a combined bachelor’s/master’s  program in which she will earn a bachelor of science degree in genetics and a  master of public health degree in environmental health science in May. Her  previous national awards include a 2009 Goldwater Scholarship and a 2010 Udall  Scholarship.

  “Muktha  joins a long and distinguished line of UGA students who have enhanced the  reputation of this institution with success in these highly competitive  academic scholarship programs,” said UGA President Michael F. Adams. “It is  especially fitting that the Gates Cambridge Scholarship focuses its resources  on students who are committed to improving the lives of others, which resonates  with UGA’s land-grant mission to serve the public good. I have no doubt that  the world is going to be a better place because of the work she will do.”

  The  Gates Cambridge Scholarship, established a decade ago through a $210 million  gift from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, offers recipients who reside  outside the United Kingdom the opportunity to pursue graduate studies at the  University of Cambridge. The scholarship program aims to build a global network  of future leaders committed to improving the lives of others.

  “Muktha’s  commitment to improving the lives of others is obvious, such as her research on  neurodegenerative diseases and her public health work in Namibia,” said David  S. Williams, director of UGA’s Honors Program. “Due to her interests in both  neuroscience and the environment, Muktha is poised to make a profound impact on  global health through her work studying the effects of extrinsic factors on  neural cell growth and development.”

  Natrajan  has been an undergraduate researcher in the laboratory of Steven Stice, Georgia  Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Reproductive Physiology, since her  freshman year at UGA. Her involvement with the lab began with her participation  in the Apprentice program offered by UGA’s Center for Undergraduate Research  Opportunities.

  Natrajan’s  research efforts have led to opportunities to give presentations at several  national and local conferences and to serve as a contributing author on a  journal article on stem cell differentiation research. She also has studied at  Nanjing University in China through the National Science Foundation’s  Partnerships for International Research and Education and participated in New  York University’s Summer Undergraduate Research Program. In the summer of 2010,  she served as an intern with the World Health Organization in Namibia.

  Natrajan’s  campus involvement has focused on environmental and ecological issues, and  includes leadership roles in the Go Green Alliance, a coalition of UGA  environmental groups, and Promote Africa, Inc., an international non-profit  organization that supports community development projects in Africa.

  Natrajan  would like to pursue a career in clinical neuroscience research and public  health policy.

  For  more information on the Gates Cambridge Scholarship, see   For more information on UGA’s Honors  Program, see