Bistra Iordanova-Department of Biological Sciences - Carnegie Mellon University

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Bistra Iordanova

2011 Ph.D. in Biological Sciences Alumna

“What unites the department is its diversity.”

This scientific diversity is one of the main reasons I chose to attend Carnegie Mellon. Here you can find a geneticist working with a nuclear physicist. There are many different people with vastly different backgrounds.
I was also intrigued by the NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) Center and its long-standing history in cell tracking MRI. As a result, I now work in Dr. Eric Ahren’s laboratory, where I study cellular and molecular MRI and develop MRI reporters for applications in the central nervous system. The goal of my research is longitudinal noninvasive imaging of molecular events deep into opaque tissues of the brain.

The size of the department was also influential in my decision to attend Carnegie Mellon. It is small, very personal and the international students are not treated any different than domestics. The faculty is accessible and free of formalities. For example during recruiting I corresponded with Dr. Alison Barth. I was impressed by her timely responses and useful pointers for the application process.

I have been greatly influenced by another faculty member during my time here. I was a teaching assistant for Dr. Frederick Lanni. He is a wonderful lecturer and his skills opened my eyes to the tremendous impact that teaching can have upon students. I am now considering a career in teaching.

Lastly, the cost-of-living in Pittsburgh is an attractive factor about attending graduate school here. I was able to buy a small house and my graduate stipend easily covers the low cost mortgage. The city is becoming increasingly bicycle friendly and has an adequate public transport. Pittsburgh is also a home of local farmer’s markets, great microbreweries and independent coffee houses.

M.A. in Special Psychology, Sofia University