Katherine Eltz

Katherine Eltz

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Biomedical Engineering

Katherine Eltz is currently a first year PhD student in the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University. She graduated from UNC in 2023 with a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering with a minor in Marine Science. Katherine joined Dr. Papadopoulou’s research team as a sophomore, developing a passion for research during her undergraduate studies working on decompression sickness mitigation in human scuba divers and diving marine animals. She is now continuing this work for her PhD under Dr. Papadopoulou’s continued mentorship.

Katherine previously received scholarships that allowed her to study abroad in Athens, Greece, for a summer during her time as an undergraduate, and she looks forward to returning to Greece for her Fulbright. She collaborates with the Divers Alert Network, the largest non-profit organization devoted to scuba diving safety, as part of her PhD work, and also interned at the Oceanografic Center in Spain working with Dr. Garcia’s team on ultrasound analysis of different organs from sea turtles presenting with as embolic pathology. Katherine graduated with highest honors and distinction based on her completion of her senior honors thesis. She received other awards for her work as an undergraduate, including UNC’s excellence in undergraduate research award, a summer research fellowship, and a scuba diving training scholarship from the Women Divers Hall of Fame. She currently serves as the president of the Aerospace Medicine organization at her university.

During her Fulbright grant, Katherine will be working in the Multiphase Dynamics Group at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki with Dr. Sotiris Evgenidis and Dr. Thodoris Karapantsios. Decompression sickness or DCS occurs when there is a decrease in ambient pressure that causes bubbles to form in tissues and blood. Determining better ways of detecting these bubbles is of importance to human scuba divers, compressed air workers and astronauts for better DCS mitigation. She and the Multiphase Dynamics Group will collaborate to validate and refine bubble detection methods using state of the art ultrasound from her home laboratory and the electrical impedance techniques developed in her host laboratory.

Katherine is excited to return to Greece for her Fulbright grant, work with leading minds in the field, as well become involved in the vibrant culture of Thessaloniki and explore the coasts through scuba diving.