Met a Graduate Student

Sarah Mailhiot
Ph.D. Candidate, Mechanical Engineering

Sarah will be participating in the 2016 East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes for U.S. Graduate Students, a National Science Foundation award program offering American graduate students the change to complete research abroad. She will conduct research under the direction of Petrik Galvosas at the Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Sara explains a bit about how her trip will help with her research:

"Osteoarthritis (OA) is a disease of the joints that affects 50% of people over age 65. Treatments for OA are limited to pain management and joint replacement; there is no cure. One limit to finding a cure is the inability to visualize changes to the joint before tissue failure. The aim of my research is to use new methods in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to visualize changes to the joint in human joint samples. This work will establish how new methods in MRI can be used to diagnose OA before tissue failure. This will give doctors more opportunities to treat and prevent damage from OA.

In Wellington, I will study how one protein in cartilage, collagen, affects the fluid-solid interactions in human cartilage using collagen hydrogels as a model system. This project will show how damage to collagen is related to arthritis in human cartilage."

Getting to Know Sarah

Hometown: Oak Forest, Il

Education History: B.S. & M.S., Biomedical Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Dissertation Title: Characterization of Osteoarthritis in situ and in vivo via bioluminescence and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance

Why did you want to attend graduate school? What drew you to Montana State University?
After my B.S degree, I got a job in industry and knew that working as a manufacturing engineer was not for me. After earning my master’s degree, I came to Montana State University to get a Ph.D. in Engineering because I wanted a better work-like balance and the ability to be outdoors. I wanted to do medical research…because I like feeling connected to the big picture, which is making life better. I was awarded the Molecular Biosciences Fellowship at MSU, which showed me that MSU was committed to doing this type of quality research and that is was where I wanted to be.

If I knew then what I know now…advice to future graduate students
Get to know your advisor and have a great working relationship with them. It is integral to success here at MSU and in winning fellowships.