Naga Annamdevula, a South Alabama graduate student recently was awarded highly competitive American Heart Association grants to help support their doctoral research, encouraging her work and validating a biomedical engineering track — a joint collaborative effort between the University’s College of Medicine Graduate Program in Basic Medical Sciences and the College of Engineering.
She is a student in the biomedical engineering track of the university.
Annamdevula, working with research mentor Dr. Silas Leavesley and co-mentor Dr. Thomas Rich, was was awarded a two-year $52,000 grant for her work titled “Spatial distribution of PDE4 isoforms regulates cAMP compartmentalization and endothelial barrier permeability in PMVECs.”
“The major focus of my research is to study the role of Phosphodiesterases in regulating cAMP signal specificity and thus maintain the endothelial permeability,” Annamdevula said in a statement released by the university. “Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. A key characteristic of ARDS is disruption of the endothelial barrier of the blood vessel leading to pulmonary edema.”
But measuring the factors that regulate permeability has proven to be a complex problem, she said. Her research is based on a five-dimensional imaging process, accounting for x, y and z spatial components, a time component and a hyperspectral component.
The work is satisfying, she said, because it helps “untangle the concepts that can be clinically translated and will be used to better understand the disease progress and treatment and improve the quality of living.”
Again, the collaboration between colleges is key to her work. “My research is half engineering and half biological science,” Annamdevula said. Working with her mentors, and in collaboration with the College of Medicine, “provided us more insight toward the biological approaches.”
Annamdevula is a native of Rajahmundry, India. She earned a bachelor’s in technology degree in India. She earned a master’s in chemical engineering at USA, working with Dr. Leavesley, a time she describes as “the best research period that I had in my life,” and inspiring her to continue studies toward a Ph.D. in USA’s Basic Medical Sciences Program.
“The rationale behind establishing the track between our two colleges was to use our graduate program as a way to mesh the analytical and mathematical strengths of faculty in the engineering disciplines with the biological strengths and insights of faculty in the basic medical science disciplines. The ultimate goal of this merger was to develop a synergistic educational environment that promoted collaboration between the various disciplines,” stated Dr. Samuel J. Strada, dean of the USA College of Medicine.