Can you tell us a little bit about your journey from India to UVA?
Chowkwale: I moved from India to the US in 2017, to start a masters program in Biomedical Engineering at SUNY Binghamton. My research there focused on computational modeling of cell-cell interactions, which eventually got me interested in intracellular signaling models. This is how I found out about Jeff Saucerman's research group at UVA, where they made intracellular signaling models of cells in the heart. I then decided to apply to the Biomedical Engineering (BME) PhD program at UVA. Fortunately, I got into the program and moved to Charlottesville!
You’re in the process of finishing up your dissertation research in Biomedical Engineering. Can you tell us about your research?
Chowkwale: As part of my research, I develop mathematical and computational models of inter- and intra-cellular interactions in the heart. These models help me study how interactions within and between cells change after a heart attack, and how this can lead to harmful outcomes. One of my projects looks at communication between cardiac cells and immune cells, and predicts mechanisms of how they control one another. Another project aims to discover different mechanisms inside a cell that cause increased cell division, which can be bad after a heart attack. Lastly, another project models differences between male and female cardiac cells, and aims to understand how communication is different between the two cell types.