Ghiska Ramahdita

Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science
Degree pursuing: PhD in mechanical engineering
Hometown: Depok, West Java, Indonesia

Please provide your lab and description of your research.

I’m co-advised by Dr. Nathaniel Huebsch and Dr. Guy Genin, and our collaboration is in the field of mechanobiology. We try to understand how mechanical cues influence cell and tissue signaling. I’m especially interested in how these cues affect heart development and disease and am developing a platform to enable researchers to engineer 3D models of human cardiac tissue.

Where did you complete your undergraduate degree?

I did my undergraduate study at the University of Indonesia, majoring in metallurgy and materials engineering. It’s such a different field compared to what I’m doing now. I continued my master’s studies through a double-degree program, studying materials engineering at the University of Indonesia and innovative materials at INSA de Lyon in France.

What motivated you to earn a graduate engineering degree?

I’ve always loved the idea of applying engineering knowledge to advance the medical field. It was a tough choice for me to choose between engineering and medicine during my undergraduate study. During my junior year, I learned about biomaterials and found them fascinating. It drove me to study tissue engineering and regenerative medicine in the United States.

Why did you pick WashU?

I love the positive experience of interdisciplinary collaboration. WashU has the best reputation in the medical field and great expertise in the engineering field. The Center for Engineering Mechanobiology (CEMB), an NSF-funded science and technology center, gives me more opportunities to learn from and collaborate with researchers everywhere.

In addition, I felt the warmth of people at WashU even before I moved here. Being a part of the McDonnell International Scholars Academy, local student and professional communities gave me more opportunities to learn and grow in a flourishing environment.

What was your favorite course and why?

This is a tricky question as all the courses I took are my favorite! If I had to pick the most interesting course, I would say Cardiovascular Biophysics led by Sándor J. Kovács, MD. Ninety-five percent of the material was brand new to me, but he delivered it well through his journal club.

Who is your favorite instructor and why?

Dr. Genin is a very positive and encouraging professor. I like the way he introduces equations in mechanics. He makes it seem fun. 

I also admire Dr. Huebsch’s and Dr. Srikanth Singamaneni's ways of teaching. While the material they taught is familiar to me, they provided more applications and logical thinking to their courses. Also, who would expect professors to use candies to show how different material stiffness affects thermal properties?

What are your plans for the future?

I would like apply engineering knowledge to advance therapies in the medical field and make an impact on society. As of now, I’m thinking of becoming a researcher in a national lab, industry or start-up that has a similar vision.