Emerging Leaders Award Recipients


Akanksha Bhargava, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

I obtained my PhD in mechanical engineering from Johns Hopkins University (JHU) and am currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Radiology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Under the mentorship of Dr. Arvind P. Pathak (www.pathaklab.org), I am developing new methods to acquire and integrate multiscale, multimodality imaging data for vascular systems biology applications. Being co-mentored by Dr. Aleksander S. Popel (https://popellab.johnshopkins.edu) in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at JHU, my research also involves the development of realistic computational models of the microcirculation that incorporate high-fidelity, high-resolution microvascular network data derived from 3D vascular images. Our recent paper in Scientific Reports on “image-based” modeling of angiogenic heterogeneity in cancer was selected as one of the “Top 100 in Cancer”, and the vascular visualizations we developed were selected for the “Biomedical Picture of the Day” by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences, UK. Recently, my work was also recognized by a “Quantitative Sciences Pilot Grant Award” from the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at JHU. I am grateful to the MCS for this honor, as well as my mentors and colleagues who made this possible, and am looking forward to running my own microcirculation laboratory one day.


Thaysa Ghiaronede Araujo Silva, University of Missouri

I received my PhD degree from the Federal University of Pernambuco – Brazil in 2018. Currently, I am a Postdoctoral fellow in the Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center at the University of Missouri. Under the mentorship of Drs. Luis A. Martinez-Lemus and Jaume Padilla, I am investigating the mechanisms by which shear stress improves endothelial insulin sensitivity. In parallel, I am also investigating the mechanisms contributing to vascular insulin resistance in the setting of type 2 diabetes. We postulate that a disintegrin and metalloproteinase – 17 (ADAM17) is critical in mediating the shedding of the extracellular portion of the insulin receptor alpha (IRa).  We propose this defect in the upstream portion of the IRa decreases the endothelial response to insulin and impairs insulin-mediated vasodilation.