Cape Elizabeth Graduate is Awarded American Heart Association Fellowship to Work in MMCRI Lab
Kathleen (Katie) M. Takach, a graduate of Cape Elizabeth High School, went to Johns Hopkins University after graduation to study biomedical engineering. Thanks to sponsorship by Maine Medical Center Research Institute (MMCRI) and the American Heart Association (AHA), Katie returned to Maine this summer to work with Dr. Ilka Pinz on a research project to study how a high fat diet may lead to complications related to diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
The Founders Affiliate of the AHA has a yearly summer fellowship program to encourage undergraduate students to pursue careers in cardiovascular research with hands-on summer research projects. The Founders Affiliate is composed of the northeast states: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. This highly competitive program awards a $5000 stipend to promising students with outstanding research mentors for a 10-week period during the summer.
In addition to completing an independent, mentored research project, Katie will experience the day-to-day operations of a biomedical research laboratory, participate in seminars and other learning experiences, and present her research at the end of the summer. Katie first became interested in MMCRI through its Summer Student Research Program, and performed an internship in the laboratory of Dr. Don Wojchowski in the summer of 2010, when she studied stem cell biology and hematopoiesis. This summer her focus will turn to research on cardiovascular disease, which is still America's #1 killer of men and women.
Katie remarks, "As a sophomore studying biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins University, it is expected that by the beginning of junior year we choose a focus area in which to specialize in for our major. As I am greatly interested in cardiovascular work, this would provide a perfect setting for me to see if this is a focus area that I would like to pursue for my major, and potentially develop into a life long passion for my career."