Washington University in St. Louis senior Abdullah Kuziez, 21, has received the prestigious Marshall Scholarship, which provides American students the opportunity to earn an advanced degree in the United Kingdom. Kuziez plans to earn a master’s degree in biomedical engineering at the University of Oxford as part of his ongoing search for cancer treatments that are both effective and accessible. 

“Oxford offers the singular opportunity to investigate the intersection of my passion for cancer science and synthetic biology,” Kuziez said. “I am deeply passionate about cancer therapy and research, a field which encompasses macro- and microscale interventions, from 100-meter accelerators to the molecular disruption of cancer metabolism. This degree will enable me to better understand these varied approaches and innovate my own.”  

The Marshall Scholarship is among the most selective in academia. Every year, approximately 1,000 endorsed applicants compete for an average of 45 slots. Kuziez is Washington University’s seventh Marshall Scholar.

Kuziez, of Ballwin, Mo., is majoring in biophysics and biochemistry in Arts & Sciences and minoring in computer science at the McKelvey School of Engineering.

Kuziez is an Ervin Scholar and a member of Washington University for Undergraduate Socioeconomic Diversity, the Muslim Student Association and numerous other organizations. Kuziez also is deeply committed to the St. Louis community, providing comfort to cancer patients at Siteman Cancer Center and teaching AP chemistry to students at Soldan International High School.

The child of Syrian immigrants, Kuziez also teaches Arabic to local children and volunteers at the International Institute of St. Louis, where he helps Syrian refugees adjust to their new life in St. Louis.

Chancellor Andrew D. Martin said Kuziez embodies the best of Washington University.

“Abdullah is a leader on campus, in the lab and in the community,” Martin said. “He is very deserving of this honor and will undoubtedly thrive as a Marshall Scholar at Oxford.”

Kuziez chose to study cancer for a range of personal and pragmatic reasons. Kuziez’s beloved grandfather died of cancer when Kuziez was in high school, a loss he still mourns. Relatively well funded, cancer research also provides a great opportunity to save a great number of lives, as cancer is among the leading causes of death worldwide, accounting for nearly 10 million deaths in 2020.

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