August 14, 2013 –
BioE graduate student Elena Kassianidou has been awarded an International Predoctoral Fellowship from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI).
Kassianidou, from the country of Cyprus, is pursuing her dissertation in Berkeley bioengineering professor Sanjay Kumar’s lab. She is working to identify the parameters that contribute to stress fiber tension generation in human glioblastoma cells, the most common and aggressive form of brain cancer.
HHMI this year awarded only 42 fellowships to international students from 19 countries studying in the U.S. This is the first such fellowship awarded to any Berkeley – UCSF Bioengineering graduate student, and the first to a student from Cyprus.
Kassianidou hopes to contribute to the growing field of bioengineering in her country. “I am particularly interested in teaching, and I would like to use my teaching experiences from the U.S. to improve the level of higher education in Cyprus,” she said.
The fellowships are designed to fund the students’ third through fifth years graduate education – a pivotal time of intense laboratory research for their doctoral dissertations. International students often have difficulty finding extramural funding to support their research, as they are ineligible for many federal grants.
Read more at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.