Meet an Alumna: Natalie Aw

Natalie AwAs one of our initial cohort of trainees, Natalie Aw joined the program as a first-year graduate student January 1, 2018. In May 2019, she graduated with a master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering. She completed undergraduate degrees in electrical engineering and economics at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Terre Haute, Indiana. Her research interests include biomedical imaging, brain-computer interfacing, and signal processing.

Aw’s master’s thesis is titled “Cerebrospinal fluid flow quantification in the brain using magnetic resonance imaging.” She has also presented her research on Diffusion Tensor Imaging of Rat Brain Slice with 3 T Clinical MR Scanner” at the 2018 MBM Retreat and submitted abstracts to two different conferences in 2019 on “Diffusion Imaging of Young and Aged Rat Brain Slices on a Human Clinical MRI Scanner.” She completed lab rotations under the advisement of Brad Sutton and Hyunjoon Kong, researching flow measurement methods for fMRI, specifically CSF in the brain. As further impact of her research, in 2018 she contributed to the testing of an MRI coil for use on the Siemens 3 T Prisma MRI system in Brad Sutton’s lab, which started developing an imaging protocol to enable imaging brain slices in collaboration with Martha Gillette’s lab.

Aw completed two semesters of the Special Topics in MBM course and participated in other trainee activities such as the Kickoff meeting, the 2018 MBM Retreat, Summer Journal Club readings/discussion meetings, Frontiers in Miniature Brain Machinery lectures, and the 2018 MBM Retreat. In March 2019, she demonstrated scientific concepts to members of the Champaign-Urbana community with the MBM booth at the Beckman Open House.

Natalie Aw interacts with a child at the MBM Booth at the Beckman Open House, March 2019.

Aw has completed additional coursework in cognitive neuroscience and cell & molecular neuroscience. In August 2018, she participated in the EBICS Engineering Cellular Systems Summer School. She also completed a three-day science communication workshop by Sandra Tsing Loh at Beckman Institute.

After completing her master’s degree, Aw joined the New York State Psychiatric Institute at the Posner Lab. In the fall of 2021, she became a doctoral candidate in Electrical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University under Dr. Archana Venkatraman. The MBM Program is proud of her accomplishments and will continue to celebrate her progress going forward.