President's Award to Distinguished Doctoral Students
Daphne Meza, Biomedical Engineering
Dissertation Title: The Effect of Combined Fluid Shear Stress and Cyclic Tensile Stretch on Vascular Endothelial Cells
Can you tell us, in general terms, about your research?
I study the effect in vivo mechanical stresses have on atherosclerosis formation. Specifically, the effect blood flow, dilation, and contraction have on coronary arteries. As coronary artery disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., my goal is to better understand the relationship between mechanical stimuli and resulting plaque/atherosclerosis formation. This gives us a better chance to come up with a solution and possibly aid in stopping heart attacks caused by total artery blockage.
What excites you about your work?
Understanding more about how the body functions has always mesmerized me. The fact that a better understanding can lead us to disease cures has always fueled my passion for research. Research extends our knowledge a little further every day, and it’s exciting to see the results firsthand.
How has your time at Stony Brook helped equip your for success?
The Center for Inclusive Education has been my biggest contributor in my time here in Stony Brook. Through them, I was 100 percent funded for my first three years, and 50 percent funded the remaining two years. Not only that, but they also funded my attendance to conferences and professional development courses. I attended grant writing courses and participated in networking and recruiting events through them. I also had access to valuable mentors who helped me in my time here. Dr. Angel Gonzalez was of great support to me through graduate school, through good and bad. The biomedical engineering department was also of great support to me throughout the years. My PI, Dr. Wei Yin, was a great mentor and made my graduate school life even more enjoyable, and through her husband, Dr. David Rubenstein, I gained another great, supportive mentor.