Chiamaka Ukachukwu

My name is Chiamaka/Chi-Chi (@YouGoChi on Twitter) and I’m a third year Ph.D. candidate in Pharmacology at the University of Michigan. I’m also a Georgia Tech alumna and U.S. Fulbright student ambassador. I had absolutely no clue that I would join a cardio lab and become an electrophysiologist. I knew nothing about the heart or ion channel biophysics. I did a couple of rotations during the first year of my Ph.D. program and joined my current lab because I loved the research and the environment. It’s the beating heart cells for me. Plus, electrophysiology is such a powerful tool and it’s so cool! I use it to record the electrical behavior of ion channels in stem-cell derived heart cells in real time! For my thesis, one of the things I am investigating is the use of antibody fragments that target the hERG cardiac potassium channel as a therapy for diseases of cardiac excitability. After graduating, I plan to pursue a career in industry focused on biomedical research. I am currently looking for internships where I can apply my current expertise while also learning how global health problems are solved in an industry setting. As a scientist, I am equally passionate about international exchange and intercultural competency and would love to continue doing research overseas as well. Learning from people of other cultures undoubtedly improves the work that we do regardless of discipline. Outside of lab you will find me dancing in a studio, at a party, outside on the street, or teaching a class! It’s one of my favorite hobbies. I’m also a spoken word artist and I love to do hair and play soccer.