Bainbridge native Elyse Fischer has been awarded a scholarship from the Bill &Melinda Gates Foundation to attend the University of Cambridge where she will be pursuing a doctorate’s degree in biological science.
After Fischer graduated from Bainbridge High School in 2012, she took off to Scotland in order to attend the University of St. Andrews to study molecular biology.
Fischer was later awarded a one-year fellowship at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases where her research involved engineering the targeting mechanism of the anthrax virus in order to target tumors.
Fischer said she became interested in science at an early age, which is appropriate considering that scientific inquiry runs in her family. Fischer’s grandfather is Dr. Edmond H Fischer, winner of the 1992 Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology along with his partner Edwin Krebs.
“Being his granddaughter has given me the opportunity to be immersed in a community of research leaders and to participate in many scientifically enriching activities,” she said, adding that her grandfather had “been by far the most influential person in my life and scientific career.”
At Cambridge, Fischer will be using some of the finest electron microscopes in the world to study how molecule inhibitors may be engineered to fight cancer.
“During my [doctorate’s study] I will use electron microscopy to investigate the molecular mechanisms of cell cycle inhibition. Such information provides a framework for designing small molecule inhibitors which induce tumor cell death,” Fischer said.
For Fischer, her work isn’t just about the science, it’s also about setting an example for other young women.
“I have always been driven to be an active leader within the scientific community, particularly to be a role model for women in academia and in the hard sciences,” she said.
“This scholarship offers a great opportunity to improve my leadership skills, to make many connections in the alumni network and to make long-lasting friendships with other extremely intellectual, diverse, and passionate students at Cambridge,” Fischer said.