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Wengrowski earns GWU’s first biomed Ph.D.

Anastasia Marie Antoinette Wengrowski of Madison earned the first doctorate degree in biomedical engineering ever presented at George Washington University. (CONTRIBUTED)
Anastasia Marie Antoinette Wengrowski of Madison earned the first doctorate degree in biomedical engineering ever presented at George Washington University. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – A Madison resident has earned the first doctorate degree in biomedical engineering ever presented at George Washington University (GWU) in Washington D.C.

Anastasia Marie Antoinette Wengrowski of Madison passed her final examination in March. She received her doctorate degree for the Hood Ceremony at GWU on May 14 and participated in the engineering commencement on May 15.

Wengrowski’s dissertation, “Overcoming the Physiological Limitations of Ex Vivo Heart Preparations,” was approved in early May and was published on May 17.

“‘Ex vivo’ means the heart is removed and injected with chemicals to keep it beating during experiments,” her father Bruno Wengrowski said. Anastasia’s mother is Mary Wengrowski.

“Anastasia had to remove mouse, rat and rabbit hearts without damage to the organ. Some hearts keep beating up to three hours once removed from the animal,” Bruce Wengrowski said.

In 2007, she graduated from Catholic High School in Huntsville. She compiled a 4.26 GPA, was elected as homecoming queen and was a member of National Honor Society, Spanish Club and the tennis team.

Wengrowski received a full academic scholarship to the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She majored in biomedical engineering, with a minor in mathematics. She graduated summa cum laude with a 3.91 GPA and completed the five-year program in 2011.

At GWU, she received a Merit Presidential Fellowship and was the first doctoral candidate to complete the biomedical engineering program. She won four technical competitions. In Hilo, Hawaii, Wengrowski instructed a seminar on light-activation of cardiac sympathetic neurons and its increase in pressure and heart rate.

In addition, Wengrowski has co-authored five professional, published papers.

In high school, Wengrowski was ranked 25th among tennis players in Alabama. For recreation, she continues to play tennis and runs marathons and half-marathons. She is a member of the UAB Alumni Association.

Now that Wengrowski has received her doctorate degree, she tentatively has accepted a position with the Food and Drug Administration in Maryland.

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