Kar Mun Koh, a graduate student in NDSU’s electrical and computer engineering department, received a $7,000 P.E.O. International Peace Scholarship. P.E.O. stands for Philanthropic Educational Organization.
She will use the scholarship to continue conducting biomedical engineering research in the department’s Cardiovascular Engineering Lab. She also is a teaching assistant.
Koh is studying how atrial fibrillation affects gene and protein expression of calcium channels in mouse cardiomyocytes, or heart cells. Atrial fibrillation is an irregular and often rapid heart rate that causes poor blood flow to the body. Her goal is to understand, at the genomic and protein level, how atrial fibrillation affects the calcium channels in the heart.
“Eventually, the findings from this research would aid the medical industry in determining if the drugs that are currently used to treat atrial fibrillation would have the side effect of causing progressive atrial fibrillation,” Koh said.
Koh became interested in cardiovascular engineering as an undergraduate. The Selangor, Malaysia, native earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from NDSU in 2013.
“Ever since then, I was addicted to this field more than ever,” she said. “I am interested in creating devices or models to improve human health and aid clinical practice. Specifically, how pacing influences cellular behavior and how this can result in changes to the heart.”
The International Peace Scholarship Fund was established in 1949 to provide scholarships to women from other countries for graduate study in the U.S. and Canada.
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