Kenia Diaz

University of Washington, Class of 2018
Intended Biology/Physiology

Kenia Diaz graduated from Chiawana High School in Pasco, WA in 2014. During high school she actively participated in DECA, GEAR UP Ambassador, MESA, FCCLA and volunteered with a variety of events.

Education, Honors, and Awards

  • GenOM Undergraduate Researcher, 2014-15
  • GenOM ALVA Intern, Summer 2014
  • 2014 graduate of Chiawana High School
  • HAAP Award
  • MESA competitions

Research Interests

As a GenOM ALVA intern during the summer of 2014, Kenia worked in the Sniadecki Lab in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Her project focused on the recent discoveries which have proposed that Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Cardiomyocytes (iPSC-CMs) can restore some level of heart function if they are implanted into a damaged heart. However, iPSC-CMs are characteristically round and create weak multidirectional forces, whereas adult cardiomyocytes cells have a rectangular morphology and create strong unidirectional contractions. Micropatterningtechniques have previously been used to encourage cardiomyocytes to elongate, while it has been hypothesized that iPSC-CMs may require a growth environment, which mimics the stiffness of the cardiac region to mature contractually. Here, lines of matrix protein were patterned onto different stiffnesses of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) to achieve elongated cells that produced strong contractions along a single direction. Therefore, these cells appear to be more structurally and contractually mature, and would perhaps serve as a better source of cells for regenerative therapies.

Kenia will be continuing her research through her college career and will join a lab in the Biology Physiology department.

Research Projects

Contact Our Organization

Lisa Peterson, Director
Gerberding G76
Phone: (206)685-2593

Latoya Surratt, ALVA Coordinator
Gerberding G76
Phone: (206) 543-3306

Maritza Zaldivar-Lima, ALVA Office Assistant
Gerberding G76
Phone: (360)508-3603

USPS mail:
Office of Research
Gerberding Hall G76
Box 351202
Seattle, WA 98195

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