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Marshall Scholarship for Georgia Tech Senior

January 2005
Marshall Scholarship for Georgia Tech Senior

Ambika Bumb, a senior in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Bio-medical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory has won the Marshall Scholarship. She is the sixth Tech student to win this coveted scholarship which was established by the British Government for American students in 1953, in appreciation for assistance received after World War II under the Marshall Plan. The aim of the scholarship is to encourage potential leaders to become ambassadors for the United States and establish personal ties between the two countries.

Bumb plans to get her degree this spring, just three years after she enrolled on a Reginald S. Fleet President's Scholarship. "Being at Georgia Tech has changed what my future is going to be. It's offered me so many opportunities and the President's Scholarship gave me the opportunity to be at Tech," she said.

While at Tech, Bumb worked on developing nanomolecular beacon tracking devices to map the territory of cells. This year, she's extending this research by designing a new tracking tool, a quantum dot, for vitamin D. The quantum dot could be used to help treat bone and cartilage diseases such as osteoporosis and rickets. She knows firsthand about the importance of technology in medicine. As an intern at GE Healthcare last summer, she helped her team diagnose and repair a problem that caused new blood pressure monitors at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia to take more than 10 minutes to get a reading - time that could mean the difference between life and death in an emergency room.

The experience reinforced Bumb's commitment to developing life-saving medical technologies. She'll continue to chase her dream next fall at Oxford where she'll pursue a Ph.D. in medical engineering as a recipient of a 2005 Marshall Scholarship. "This may sound idealistic, but I want to help come up with a new technology or treatment for a disease. I want to be the person who follows it through to make sure it reaches the people I'm developing it for," she said. Bumb said she knows medical treatments won't help anyone if they can't be commercially viable. "You have to tailor the research to the market," she said. "For example, you develop drugs for Africa, not treatments that require lots of machines."

Bumb also helped found a new Indian dance team at Tech, Nazaaqat, which played to a packed house at the Ferst Center for the Arts.

Prominent former Marshall Scholars include U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer; former U.S. Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt; New York Times foreign affairs columnist Thomas Friedman; and the scientist/inventor Ray Dolby.

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