01 Dec Meet Harsimran Kalsi, CTSI 500 Stars Program
The CTSI 500 Stars program has provided me with invaluable experiences and connections which have allowed me to develop both professionally and personally. I’m a young scientist and aspiring future physician-scientist, interested in innovating emergency medicine and facilitating the development of novel therapeutics to cure the diseases of aging. Subsequently, the 500 stars program has been instrumental in giving me the unique opportunity to research at the frontlines of translational science—both in clinical and biomedical settings.
While researching at Center for Advancing Population Science (CAPS – formerly PCOR), I studied food insecurity and its relationship with the prevalence of type II diabetes. I chose this particular research project because I myself grew up in the heart of a food desert. This research was empowering because instead of continuing to witness various health disparities, I was empowered to study them and to actually help develop strategies/interventions to address them.
Later, I researched in the Department of Biomedical Engineering for two summers (in the CTSI and SPUR programs) where my research focused on optimizing medical devices like cardiovascular stents, grafts, flow diverters, and heart valves. We used a variety of techniques ranging from tissue engineering approaches to magnetic nanoparticle interventions. Ultimately, we wanted to develop novel treatment approaches and improve the blood compatibility of these devices. I then presented my work at three different conferences across the country.
Currently, I’m the co-founder and president of an early stage startup that has received support from the National Science Foundation’s I-CORPs program. I’m also the chief organizer of Healthspan 2019, a biotechnology conference aimed at highlighting the biohealth industry of Wisconsin and the research/development of rejuvenation biotechnologies. My passion for translational science across disciplines could not have developed in the way that it has without the CTSI program.
I am incredibly grateful for my experiences and relationships obtained through the CTSI 500 Stars program. I’ve met wonderful mentors, colleagues, and friends who continue to support me and my many ambitions.