Ashvin Bashyam, a biomedical engineering senior in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, was selected to receive the prestigious Hertz Foundation Fellowship, a five-year award valued at $250,000. He is one of only 15 students in the nation selected for the annual fellowship this year and becomes the Cockrell School's fourth Hertz Fellow since 2011.
An undergraduate student in the Cockrell School's Department of Biomedical Engineering, Bashyam was selected out of nearly 800 applicants to receive the five-year graduate fellowship.
The Hertz Fellowship is considered to be the nation's most generous support for graduate education in the applied physical, biological and engineering sciences. Hertz Fellows undergo a highly competitive selection process and are chosen for their intellect, ingenuity and potential to bring meaningful improvement to society.
"Receiving the Hertz Fellowship is truly an extraordinary honor for any engineering student in this country," said Stanislav Emelianov, professor and co-director of the Center for Emerging Imaging Technologies in UT Austin's Biomedical Engineering Department. "From day one, Ashvin became an integral part of the lab and conducted impactful biomedical imaging studies, including co-authoring a paper published in Nanotechnology. We are very proud of him and all his achievements."
Bashyam is the Cockrell School's fourth Hertz Fellowship recipient in the past four years. In 2012, biomedical engineering student Kelly Moynihan and electrical and computer engineering student Anjali Datta were selected. In 2011, chemical engineering student Katie Maass was named a Hertz Fellow.
"I was inspired by Kelly Moynihan, a fellow biomedical engineering student who won the same fellowship just two years ago," Bashyam said. "Her experience with the fellowship interviews motivated me to treat classes as more than just a series of requirements. I started to think about how all of the concepts fit together and how I could apply them."
Bashyam, who is graduating this May, will pursue a Ph.D. in medical engineering and medical physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology this fall as part of the Harvard-MIT Program in Health Sciences and Technology.
At the Cockrell School, Bashyam specializes in improving cancer detection through advanced medical imaging. As a researcher in biomedical engineering's Ultrasound Imaging and Therapeutics Research Laboratory, he worked closely with graduate student Geoffrey Luke in Emelianov's laboratory, focusing on advanced photoacoustic imaging, which combines ultrasound and lasers to map the anatomy and molecular signature of tissue. The research improves early cancer detection, Bashyam says, which ultimately increases patient survival rates.
In addition to working as a researcher, Bashyam was part of a student medical device startup called Austin Thermal, which developed Hot IV, a device that heats intravenous fluid before administration. The goal is to improve hypothermia recovery and prevention.
He served as a peer mentor through Beta Mu Epsilon, the biomedical engineering honor society, and received the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.