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Student Highlights

Kathleen McDowell awarded AHA pre-doctoral fellowship

June 5, 2012

Kathleen McDowell

Kathleen McDowell, a student working in the lab of Natalia Trayanova, has been awarded an American Heart Association pre-doctoral fellowship award. The AHA award provides research assistance and funding to students pursuing cardiovascular research.

Kathleen's project involves the generation of patient-specific computational models of the human atrium, constructed from MRI scans of atrial fibrillation patients. The atrial models contain accurate patient geometry, as well as accurate fibrotic lesion distribution. She will use these models to investigate how atrial fibrosis contributes to the initiation and maintenance of human atrial fibrillation.

Kathleen describes the synergy between the AHA grant and her thesis proposal: “Thanks to the new guidelines for the PhD thesis proposal, I was encouraged to write my proposal following the format of a common fellowship application,” she said. “I submitted the grant application to the AHA shortly after turning it into my thesis committee! Thus, I have my thesis committee members to thank for their feedback on the project, which really helped to strengthen my application.”

Kathleen has a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Virginia.