Eva Martinez Luque - 2022 Zebrowitz Fellow

Eva Martinez Luque is a Biomedical Engineering student studying the impact on mental illness on the brain.

The goal of understanding the brain’s complexities has guided decades of groundbreaking biomedical research. While many of the brain’s intricacies remain a mystery, brain imaging technology such as MRI scans have shed some light on how our brains are structured, how they respond to stimuli, and how they function after damage. Many scientists believe that these tools can also reveal information on the development of mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety.

Eva Martinez Luque is one of the scientists who seeks to understand how biomedical engineering can inform the study of mental health. She was selected as the 2022 recipient of the Andy Zebrowitz Memorial Brain Fellowship to support her research. This fellowship, established by Zebrowitz’s family in his honor, aims to support biomedical engineering (BME) students in the Laney Graduate School as they find new ways to diagnose and treat brain injury, trauma, and bleeding disorders.

As an undergraduate  exchange student at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Eva took a course called “Systems Physiology,” where she gained insight on how to connect biomedical engineering into mental health study.

“Mental health has always been something I wanted to research – from my personal interest and the ways in which it has significant societal impact. The class helped me realize that as engineers we can address things that happen in our brain from that perspective,” she said. “From that point, I was able to determine my path, which combined my mathematical background, my engineering perspective, and my interest in mental health.”                                                 

Working at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Eva was the main researcher on a project that aimed to develop an animal model to explore how chronic stress impacted traumatic brain injury outcome.

As a Zebrowitz Fellow, Martinez Luque will work as part of an interdisciplinary team under the guidance and mentorship of BME graduate faculty. Beginning this fall, she will begin conducting Brain MRI-based research at Fleischer Biomedical Spectroscopy and Imaging Laboratory (BSIL) supervised by Dr. Candace Fleischer.

“Mentorship gives you the tools to make sense of the questions at hand and the confidence to approach the research, which is so important as a young researcher,” she said. “You must teach your brain how to think as a scientist, which is why I am excited to have people I respect and admire as my mentors through this fellowship.”

“Receiving this fellowship is so important to me because it not only provides the support to execute these studies, but it also validated me as a researcher,” Martinez Luque said. “The Ph.D. program at Georgia Tech and Emory is the perfect opportunity to further my professional and personal development. Being given this award gave me the assurance that I am on the right path and my work is valued.”