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U. of I. senior from Glenview, Ill., wins Gates Cambridge Scholarship

4/6/2009 | Sharita Forrest, News Editor 217-244-1072;

[ Email | Share ] CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – A senior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is among the recipients of this year’s prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarships.

Lucas Edelman, of Glenview, Ill., is one of 37 U.S. students to receive the merit-based scholarship funded by an endowment from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Since the Gates Cambridge Scholarship program began in 2001, Edelman is the eighth University of Illinois student to be awarded a scholarship.

The scholarships are given to students from outside the United Kingdom who demonstrate outstanding academic merit and leadership and are committed to serving their communities. The award, valued at about $50,000 annually, covers the full cost of studies at Cambridge University in England as well as travel and living expenses.

Edelman, a bioengineering major, will use the award to pursue a doctorate in molecular biology at the Babraham Institute at Cambridge, where he will research the control of human epigenetics by molecules called non-coding RNA. After obtaining his doctorate, Edelman plans to perform biological and medical research at a university with a goal of improving the efficacy of medical therapy for cancer and other major diseases.

Edelman has published findings as a participant in two research groups – one based in chemical engineering with Nathan Price, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the U. of I.’s Urbana campus; and in anesthesiology with Guy Weinberg, a professor of anesthesiology at the U. of I. College of Medicine in Chicago.

Additionally, Edelman has contributed to seven publications and numerous conference presentations.

The National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance awarded Edelman $500 to fund a research project that he designed.

Edelman also is scientific director on a student team from Illinois that competed at the International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition in 2008 and won a bronze award for designing a cholera-detecting microbe that glows green when the toxin is detected in water. Edelman led the fundraising for the team’s project, and garnered $30,000 in support. The team’s project is ongoing, and they expect to have a functioning prototype soon.

During his career at Illinois, Edelman has served as the president of the Biomedical Engineering Society and as a campus tour guide. Edelman entered the U. of I. with three semesters of advanced placement credits, took an upper-level class his freshman year and earned a Goldwater Scholarship during his sophomore year. Edelman also is a James Scholar and has a 4.0 grade point average.

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