Ishan Patel, an Oregon State University bioengineering student from Redmond, Ore., has received a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, one of the nation’s most prestigious awards, to pursue his study of blood chemistry and clot formation.

His goal is to develop a clinical test for an individual’s risk of developing blood clots.

In a summer research experience at Oregon Health & Science University, Patel created a table-top model that simulates blood flow in veins and arteries. He received support from a Pete and Rosalie Johnson Scholarship through the OSU College of Engineering. Patel is also a student in OSU’s University Honors College.

Clots prevent blood loss when arteries and veins are damaged, but when they form in the absence of injury, they can contribute to heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular problems. Patel has worked with Dr. Owen J.T. McCarty and other researchers to study the influence of medications and innate blood chemistry on clot formation. In July, he plans to present a paper to the International Society of Thrombosis and Haemostasis in Kyoto, Japan.

“This scholarship means that all of the hard work that I have done is being recognized,” said Patel, “and it serves as inspiration that someone from a very rural community can achieve a national recognition. Further, I feel like this scholarship is a huge personal accomplishment for me and is a starting point for my future career in blood research.”

Created by the U.S. Congress in 1986, Goldwater scholarships cover eligible expenses for undergraduate tuition, fees, books and room and board. They are awarded to the nation’s top students in science, math and engineering.

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program honors the late senator, who served for 56 years as a soldier and statesman, including 30 years in the U.S. Senate.

Original Article pubished in Terra Magazine Friday April 15th, 2011.