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BME Senior Attends Moscow Space Development Program

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Esmeralda Fisher
From left: Sruthi Mathews, astronaut Sunita Williams, and College of Architecture research associate professor Olga Bannova.

Tier One Scholar Sruthi Mathews was selected to attend the Moscow Summer Intern Program (MSIP) held at Bauman Moscow State Technical University this summer. The workshop, titled Space Development: Theory and Practice, allows students from around the globe to learn about the Russian space program, technology and exploration.

Mathews, a UH biomedical engineering senior, was sponsored by Rice University’s Baker Institute of Public Policy to attend the two-week workshop.

The Moscow Summer Intern Program develops international collaborations for science and engineering students to work together to design, manufacture, and operate space science projects, replicating the success and spirit of cooperation and innovation that formed the basis of the International Space Station.

Mathews was excited for the opportunity to learn firsthand from Russian engineers and cosmonauts, and to work with students from other countries.

“I’ve always been interested in space exploration,” Mathews said. “I never thought I’d get to work in the field of aerospace engineering, but I keep going back to it.” Mathews received a scholarship from NASA last year and sees many opportunities for Houston students interested in working at Johnson Space Center.

In addition to MSIP, Mathews’ summer studies include participation in the UH Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF). She is working under the guidance of biomedical engineering associate professor Kirill Larin in the biomedical optics lab. She uses Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) to quantitate differences in growth between alcohol-exposed and control mice embryos. The imaging system is similar to an ultrasound, but uses light waves.

The potential for a career in aerospace engineering is well within reach for Mathews, who seeks to apply her background in biomedical engineering to the study of the effects of space travel. “People react a lot differently in space,” she said. “We don’t really know the long-term implications of having people up in space. We know short-term effects, but there’s still a lot of research to be done in space exploration.”

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