With a motivated and enthusiastic mind, I engaged in my high school education and found
myself drawn to the science fields, specifically to biomedical science. This subject specifically
intrigued me as it utilizes my natural problem-solving skills and analytical mind; biomedical
scientists are continually challenged while investigating their research questions and I find
myself fascinated by the challenges associated with optimization. While some may be
discouraged by the process of trial and error, I find myself energized by the innovation required
to solve problems, which is one of the reasons I am drawn to this field. Moreover, this is an
ever-changing, dynamic field, to establish a career in this I would be required to engage in lifelong
learning and researching, continually improving my abilities to understand and solve
problems, along with enhancing my skills in communicating my ideas. Having always placed
emphasis on academics and researching, this is incredibly appealing to me. Achieving
exceptional grades throughout school, I was successful in my application to study a bachelor’s
degree in biomedical engineering, a program I am due to graduate from in 2018. Here, I have
vastly expanded my knowledge in diverse areas, concentrating on biomaterials and tissue
As soon as I began this bachelor’s degree at the University of Miami, I immediately started
volunteering at the Islet Immunoengineering Laboratory. Here, my projects have been focused
on the characterization of polymeric materials used in conformal coating (CC) and
transplantation of islets of Langerhans. From this experience, I have engaged in two conference
presentations where I was listed as first author and my papers were presented at the Research
and Innovation Forum and at the Biomedical Engineering Society Annual Conference. To add
to this, I am also the co-author of a referred journal article titled, “Immunoisolation of Murine
Islet Allografts in Vascularized Sites Through Conformal Coating with Polyethylene Glycol,”
which was published in The American Journal of Transplantation in October 2017.
One of the most rewarding research projects I have participated in focused on demonstrating
that the transplantation of CC islets in the epidydimal fat pad (EFP) site favors nutrients and
glucose/insulin transport and, consequently, islet engraftment. Here, I was assigned the task of
experimentally determining the insulin and glucose diffusivity coefficients of the hydrogels
used for immunoisolation in conformal coatings and of the hydrogels used for immobilization
of CC islets in the EFP site. Beyond obtaining the parameters needed for the computational
model, I found satisfaction in having the ability to complete a project that previous students
struggled to complete. As a result of my success here, I have been invited to supervise students’
research, which is also incredibly gratifying.
Currently, I am completing a manuscript on rheological analysis of different hydrogels used
for islet encapsulation, to be submitted to a top journal. First, I am interested in applying
engineering concepts to attempt to understand (and possibly cure) autoimmune diseases, such
as type 1 diabetes. As such, I believe my interests are aligned with the research areas of Dr.
Tarek Fahmy. In addition, I am fascinated by Dr. Mark Saltzman’s work, specifically, his
research on pancreatic islets. Secondly, I am fascinated by the application of microfluidic
devices for tissue engineering purposes. This interest arose when I began my most recent
project, which consists of testing a CC-islet-on-a-chip to more easily and cost-effectively assess
islet function. Thus, I find the work of Dr. Andre Levchenko very intriguing. Through my
research, I wish to contribute to scientific knowledge, to drive our collective knowledge and to
create collaborations between universities and industry.   My goals going forward are very clear. In the short-term I would like to engage in a renowned
and highly regarded Ph.D. program, benefitting from engaging in world-class research and
developing my skills in this area, along with my knowledge of the field. My long-term
objectives include establishing and operating my own biotech company; to achieve this dream,
it is essential that I become expertly knowledgeable and highly effective as a researcher,
abilities I am confident I will attain through your reputable school, diverse and rich Ph.D.
program and in collaborating with your esteemed faculty. I firmly believe that studying at the
Yale University will equip me with everything I need to achieve my goals and more.


I'm Katy!

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