Michael Mezher | Fellow
Michael is an aspiring entrepreneur with a broad range of experience. He recently graduated with honors from George Mason University, earning a BS in Bioengineering with a concentration in Systems and Signals and a minor in Mechanical Engineering. He has held several internship and research positions, including interning at the National Scoliosis Center and researching under Dr. Laurence Bray to decipher a mapping between voluntary movement and neural activity within the primary motor cortex of a monkey. Michael has a highly creative mind and has worked on several successful extracurricular engineering projects, including the application of artificial neural networks to formulate stock market predictions, the development of a multitude of mechanically-functional 3D printed components, and the manifestation of machine learning techniques within microcontrollers. For a capstone engineering course at George Mason University, he led a team of five to design, prototype, and test a “wearable, lightweight, and low cost sit-to-stand assistive device” to aid elderly individuals affected by sarcopenia in moving between a standing and seated position.
Stephanie Guang | Fellow
Stephanie majored in both Engineering and Public Health at Brown University. She graduated this past May with honors, after completing an independent thesis project developing a virtual reality simulation for cordocentesis that will serve as a training tool for medical students and residents at Rhode Island Hospital. The simulation algorithm, which she programmed in C++, provides real-time visual and haptic feedback to reconstruct the actual “feel” of the needle biopsy. Stephanie’s public health interests primarily lie in elucidating the social determinants of health, and she has also done research in studying burnout in medical students. Stephanie has held internships at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, and at Lifespan, during which she worked to create engineering solutions to healthcare issues.
King John Pascual | Fellow
King was born and raised in Manila, Philippines and immigrated to Texas in 2003, where he attended a magnet high school for the health professions. A graduate of Brown University where he double majored in Human Biology and Ethnic Studies, King aspires to become a mental health professional and advocate. After graduating from Brown, he taught high school Biology and Earth Science in New York City as part of Teach for America and completed his Master’s degree in Secondary Science Education. King’s professional experience also includes working at Harvard Medical School as a Genomics Research Intern and for McKinsey’s Social Initiative Team as an Instructional Technology Consultant. Passionate about health education and science communication, King blogs about wellbeing and leverages mindfulness practices at SoulSearch Education Consulting, a college advising firm startup that he founded in the summer of 2014.
Ekaterina (Katia) Vlasova | Fellow
Katia is a Watson Fellow who researched international approaches to integrative medicine. Before joining HFA, Katia spent her Watson year exploring mindbody healing practices across Europe, Southeast Asia, and South America. She connected with clinicians pioneering programs for centers of integrative medicine, studied holistic mental health practices within contemplative communities, and learned about the philosophies of healing at centers for mindful recovery. Her experiences taught Katia that community support plays an invaluable role in the healing process. While a student at Bryn Mawr College, Katia studied Biology and Contemplative Traditions. In an effort to bring greater awareness to mental health on campus, Katia launched Bryn Mawr´s first mindfulness-based meditation group, teaching meditation techniques and collaborating with the academic resources team to bring further opportunities for students to learn how to utilize mindfulness. She co-led an integrative medicine focus group, inviting guest speakers and organizing holistic health events on campus. Katia worked in an epigenetics research laboratory, which showed her the impact of one’s environment and lifestyle on health at the molecular level.