Phoebe Balascio ’20 on tendon research

As a biomedical engineering major with 4 minors in biomechanical engineering, exercise science, disability studies, and medical humanities, Honors sophomore Phoebe Balascio loves to stay busy with school, research, and extracurricular activities. When Phoebe was still a junior in high school, she contacted multiple research groups at UD to find out how she could get involved early. That’s how she began her research with Doctor Silbernagel from the physical therapy department at STAR campus. Currently, she is part of a research group consisting of both undergraduate and graduate students, and has expressed that she is constantly learning from both her team and their research.

Their research involves collecting data and studying the viscoelastic properties of the Achilles tendon using newly developed technology called continuous shear wave elastography (cSWE).  This method applies mechanical waves to the tendon as a non-invasive way to study tendons in vivo. Patients are observed over time to track changes in tendon properties as healing progresses.  These new techniques could be monumental in the physical therapy field, and her research group is diving head first into several projects that all center around new ways to treat tendon pain and injuries.  Phoebe’s involvement with research closely aligns with her future career goals; she expressed her desire to go to PT school upon graduation and will potentially start her own project(s).

On top of her research and schoolwork, Phoebe is also involved with several RSOs and has a job as a swim instructor at Kid’s First Swim in Hockessin.  One RSO , “It’s On Us” is newly established at UD and aims to prevent sexual assault and help victims. It also focuses on teaching bystanders ways they can help prevent sexual assault. Another RSO she belongs to is the Asian Student Association, which she is treasurer for.

Phoebe’s diverse interests have taught her how to balance academics, Honors requirements and the many activities on her plate. “I know what I got myself into,” she said with a laugh, “It’s all about time management.”

Story by Katie Kornienko ’20, Honors Program communications intern