Recent Tulane University graduate Gisele Calderon of Baton Rouge, La., has won a Whitaker International Fellowship, becoming the first Tulane student to be awarded the prestigious postgraduate research grant. She will spend the 2013–14 academic year at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Recent grad Gisele Calderon will work on a biomedical engineering project during the 2013–14 academic year at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne. (Photo by Cindy Stewart)
Calderon will work with world-renowned scientist Jeffrey Hubbell, a biomedical engineering professor at the institute and an adjunct professor of surgery at the Diabetes Research Institute in Miami.
“Essentially, I will be working on optimizing synthetic biomaterials that would provide the ideal support network for stable blood vessel growth,” Calderon says. “This vascularization of tissue would continue the advancement of tissue engineering to ultimately create functional organs.”
The Whitaker International Fellowship Program identifies future leaders in the field of biomedical engineering and supports one year of work in collaboration with scholars and institutions overseas. Along with supporting grant projects in an academic setting, the program encourages grant recipients to engage in policy work and propose projects in an industry setting.
While a student at Tulane, Calderon was a Newcomb Scholar
who majored in biomedical engineering
. She was member of the women’s swimming and diving team, specializing in the butterfly stroke. In 2010 and 2012, Calderon
received the Torch Award, which is given to an athlete for achieving excellence in academics and athletics while contributing to the community.
In a Newcomb Scholars blog, Calderon says she feels blessed that Tulane helped prepare her so well for more advanced studies in biomedical engineering.
“The city and the university have been so good to me, and I’m anxious to give back and make them proud.” Of her next stop, she adds, “I’m so excited to continue doing what I love all while embracing a new culture.”