Sarah earned her PhD in Systems Modeling & Analysis at Virginia Commonwealth University in 2021. Her research involved understanding the role of macrophage polarization and identifying key mechanisms driving outcomes in ventilator-induced lung injury and general lung inflammation, using ODEs and agent-based modeling along with statistical and machine learning techniques. Prior to her doctoral work, Sarah earned her MS in Applied Mathematics from VCU and bachelor's degrees in Mathematics and Spanish from Lee University. She also interned at UnitedHealth Group and VoluMetrix, where she completed modeling projects for COVID-19 and monitoring heart failure, respectively.
What is your role at Applied BioMath?
“As a modeler, my job is to create mathematical models that simulate a biological system and how a drug would interact with that system.”
What do you love most about working here?
“I love that we get to have a direct impact on the decisions that our customers make with their drugs and help them get their drugs to market faster. I also love being challenged every day by the people who work here.”
What was your focus in your academics?
“I was doing mechanistic modeling of how the immune system responds to damage from a mechanical ventilator, specifically looking at the role of macrophage polarization on the immune response.”
What made you get into the field of life sciences?
“I’ve always really liked math. I was good at it, and I enjoyed the challenge of solving a problem. I thought I wanted to be a teacher for a long time and then I did an REU (research experience for undergraduates) at Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI. The research project happened to be in mathematical biology and that was it for me. The idea of using math, which was a subject I really liked, and applying it to a biomedical problem felt really rewarding.”
What do you like to do in your spare time?
“I love to bake, and I do a lot of crafts. I’m currently knitting my first sweater. I also love being outside and exploring Boston.”
If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?
“I would take myself and my two sisters on a big trip somewhere—probably to Europe or Argentina.”
What is a random fun fact about yourself?
“When I was in the 5th grade, I was in the school spelling bee and got disqualified for the word mathematics. I guess you can say I’ve been trying to make up for it since 5th grade.”
What inspires you every day?
“My faith and the idea that I’m a part of something bigger than myself definitely inspires me.”