While Athena Olszewski was always interested in biology and function of the human body, their interest in biomedical research began by reading about the history of medicine, and recognizing the impact basic science can have on patient care. This perspective, combined with a fascination with learning the mechanisms of life, led them to seek out opportunities across a variety of biomedical fields. As an undergraduate, they studied Biomedical Engineering with a focus in cellular and tissue engineering at Johns Hopkins University and pursued research in two laboratories. In the Mechanical Engineering of Wet-materials (MEOW) Laboratory run by Yun Chen, Athena worked on optimizing the creation of bioprinted vessels for use in studying cellular mechanics. In the Raul Chavez-Valdez Lab, Athena assisted with various projects studying hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy in mouse models. Athena completed two internships at Imbed Biosciences where they worked on the development of a bioresorbable wound matrix. During their final undergraduate summer, Athena worked within the Wassarman Lab at University of Wisconsin - Madison studying the effects of a ketogenic diet on traumatic brain injury recovery. Upon graduation, they were awarded the Richard J. Johns Academic Achievement Award.
Athena is pursuing a PhD with the goal of growing into a leader of research that contributes to a better understanding and treatment of disease. Diseases and injuries with neurological effects is Athena's main area of interest. They believe that the integration of diverse scientific approaches can lead to new discoveries that improve quality of life for patients affected by neurological diseases.
Hometown: Middleton, WI