Katrina Hansen, PhD Student
Hometown: Chugiak, AK
Previous degrees/school where the degree was earned: BS, Bioengineering, Washington State University
Why did you choose WPI for your PhD?
I chose WPI for my PhD because I had done an REU (Research Experience for Undergrads) at WPI during the summer of 2011 and really enjoyed the facilities and the research I was doing. I also wanted to attend WPI because of the opportunities presented through the institute as well as the IGERT program.
What area(s) of research are you currently exploring?
The Gaudette lab is focused on the development of a platform to increase the delivery of cells to a damaged heart to promote regeneration. Currently we are focused on implanting human mesenchymal derived stem cells, but we are expanding that to include contractile induced pluripotent stem cell derived cardiomyocytes (iPS-CM). Using Activin-A and BMP-4 Dr. Laflamme’s lab at the University of Washington has successfully differentiated iPS cells into cardiomyocytes that will spontaneously beat. My project is to use these differentiated iPS-CMs and develop protocols to seed them onto our fibrin microthreads and measure the contraction the cells produce. Ultimately we plan to implant iPS-CM seeded sutures into infarcted rat hearts and measure changes in mechanical function over 1 week and 1 month.