BME Ph.D. Graduate Mariana Masteling Receives Mistletoe Research Fellowship

Research to focus on injury prevention during childbirth

Congratulations to BME PhD graduate Mariana Masteling, who received the 2023 Mistletoe Research Fellowship, a $10,000 unrestricted research funding and professional development opportunity open to STEM postdocs and ABD Ph.D. candidates at U-M. This award is sponsored by the Momental Foundation, a grantmaking foundation and impact-focused startup accelerator.

“My research interests are in injury prevention during childbirth,” Masteling said. “With this money, I am going to explore the role of heat in the prevention of perineal injuries during childbirth. These are injuries to the skin surrounding the vagina and the anus that affect almost everyone who delivers vaginally.”

The mission of the Momental Foundation is to “Build bridges between the academic, entrepreneurial, and civil communities to create a more human-centered and sustainable future through technology.” In 2023, the foundation awarded 24 fellowships to postdocs and graduate students from universities in the U.S. and Singapore. The fellows receive $10,000 in unrestricted research funding to support their research projects and career development, in exchange, the fellows provide 100 hours of technical support to biotech and hardware startups in the Momental Foundation portfolio. 

“This is a great opportunity to work with fellows at different universities and apply research skills to the entrepreneurial world,” Masteling said. “I learned about this fellowship through Rackham’s newsletter. The application process was very straightforward. It covered several short essays, including explaining your research interests to lay audiences. To kick off the fellowship, there was a three-day, in-person workshop in Oakland, California, in early December, where all of the fellows had the opportunity to meet each other and we were introduced to the scope of the Momental Foundation. The workshop focused on the role of entrepreneurship in the sustainability and conservation efforts related to climate change and its humanitarian implications.”