After discovering her love for math and science as a student at St. Michael, alumna Ana Estrada (‘09) now utilizes her PhD research to study the pathophysiology of cardiac growth after heart attacks or chronic high blood pressure.
Ana credits her time at St. Michael for sparking her interest not only in math but also in the science of the human body as well. “One of the main reasons I studied bio-engineering in college was because I enjoyed math at St. Michael. Then I took Biology II with Dr. B, and that course made me realize just how much I loved the biology of the human body. Bio-engineering allows me to combine both math and the physical body,” she conveys.
Ana graduated with a degree in bio-engineering in 2013 from Rice University and is currently working on her PhD in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Virginia. Through her fellowship with the American Heart Association, Ana builds computer models to predict how the heart will grow in response to different therapies after a heart attack. “The main benefits with this is in designing new therapies to catch and understand disease. We hope that these models will help people’s health in the long term.”
During her time at St. Michael, Ana was part of the cross country team and achieved the title of Valedictorian. “I love all my St. Michael friends. I had a really great community there,” she mentions. “My best memories come from being on the cross country team and having that support network. I learned a lot of valuable lessons and developed irreplaceable life-long habits.”
Ana still enjoys running as a hobby and completed her first half marathon last year. After earning her PhD this summer, she hopes to become a professor while still tending to her research, allowing her to “have the best of both worlds.”