Astrid Vallat is currently in her third year as a Biology and German Literature and Slavic Languages Major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her education has a pre-dental focus with a Peace, War, and Defense concentration integrated into her curriculum. After becoming more involved in global affairs at UNC, she found her interests continued to converge around global health and finding solutions to providing equitable healthcare.
Astrid is pursuing a career in dentistry that is driven by her desire to learn about, understand, and mitigate challenges in healthcare on a local and global scale. Upon immigrating to the United States from Austria at age 12 and being exposed to both regions’ healthcare systems, Astrid’s interest in the sciences and dentistry adopted a global lens. This interest gained nuance through her internship at the rehabilitation center at Herz-Jesu Krankenhaus and research at the University of Mainz, where she was exposed to the importance of healthcare accessibility and pharmaceutical innovation.
As an undergraduate at UNC, Astrid has explored the complex morphogenetic processes involved in bilateral palatal shelf growth, elevation, and fusion. With a focus on cleft lip and palate, her research examines alterations in cell-cell adhesion molecules, like NECTIN1 and NECTIN4, and the early deletion of Afadin prior to palatogenesis. Astrid also previously worked as a research analyst for the Transatlantic Forum for Education and Diplomacy, where she worked to bring ambassadors and diplomats to the UNC campus and take students to Washington, D.C., to further the diplomacy initiative.
After speaking with Dr. Dhiren Thakker at a conference for the global initiative at UNC, she was excited to learn more about Med Aditus and the organization’s mission of providing pharmaceutical accessibility. This was a great opportunity for her to further expand her knowledge at the intersection of all her primary areas of interest. She is excited to incorporate the lessons and skills she learns working with the Med Aditus team into her future educational and professional careers.