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Mentor: Dr. Elena Aikawa

Dr. Rachel Cahalane is a Research Fellow at the Center for Interdisciplinary Cardiovascular Sciences in the Cardiovascular Division of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Cahalane obtained her Bachelor of Engineering in 2016 from the University of Limerick, Ireland. She subsequently received an Irish Research Council Postgraduate Scholarship to complete a PhD under the supervision of Prof Michael Walsh. Her doctoral research focused on the characterization of calcified atherosclerotic tissue from carotid and lower limb vascular beds. She used different clinical imaging modalities, with a focus on computed tomography and calcium density, nanoindentation techniques and blood-based biomarkers in her research. She received the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland (RAMI) Section of Bioengineering Bronze Medal for work conducted as part of her doctoral thesis. She then secured a postdoctoral research position at Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, as part of the Convergence for Health and Technology Impulse program under the mentorship of Dr. Frank Gijsen. Her project focused on optically guided endovascular treatment for patients with large-vessel ischemic stroke, specifically the relationship between clinical imaging characteristics and thrombus mechanics.

She joined CICS in 2022 as a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow between the Center for Interdisciplinary Cardiovascular Sciences and the Mechanobiology and Medical Devices Research Group at the University of Galway, Ireland. Under the mentorship of Dr. Elena Aikawa, Rachel will apply histological, ultrastructural, “omics” techniques and network analyses to constitute an integrated multi-omics map of human bioprosthetic leaflet degeneration.


  • Bioprosthetic valves
  • Calcification
  • Thrombosis
  • Mechanical characterization
  • Clinical imaging
  • Medical devices
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