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Prestigious international scholarship for IBME student

Just a handful of Canadian Centenial Scholarships are awarded each year – and one University of Oxford postgraduate has been recognised with this coveted award.
Prestigious international scholarship for IBME student

Founded in 1967 by the Canadian Women’s Club to mark the centennial of the country’s founding, the scholarships are awarded to promising students from Canada who are enrolled on postgraduate courses in the UK. They recognise academic excellence and the ability to represent Canada positively within the UK academic and artistic community.

The CIBC Scholarship, funded by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, was awarded to Engineering Science postgraduate student Bo Zhang. Bo is one of 17 recipients this year, part of a cohort which includes researchers in fields as diverse as molecular neuroscience, war studies and history of performance.

A student of Kellogg College, Bo gained his B.A.Sc in chemical Engineering (with minors in Bioengineering, Sustainable Energy and Environmental Engineering) from the University of Toronto. He is now based in the University of Oxford’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering, where he is part of the Tissue Engineering and Systems Engineering groups.

He is currently completing his D.Phil. thesis, which combines mathematical modelling and experimental studies to improve the culture environment for adult stem cells, identifying favourable conditions to enhance large-scaled culture efficiency.

“Adult stem cells have the potential to transform human health, including in stem-cell-based therapy for conditions including type one diabetes, multiple sclerosis and osteoporosis,” Bo explains. “However, the biological complexity of the scale-up process presents ongoing challenges. 

“My work aims to address these challenges by gaining an advanced understanding of how oxygen, metabolism, and surface interactions affect the quality and growth rate of these cells.”

Alongside his studies, Bo is a point guard on the University of Oxford basketball team and has served as an Oxford University Student Union graduate officer and a member of the University’s Research and Graduate Admissions Committee.

He says: “I greatly appreciate the recognition and support from the Maple Leaf Trust, which only inspires me to work harder and make contributions to my field of study and the society.”