SAFE Grant Student Spotlight: Claire Brown, Physics and Astronomy

SAFE Grant Student Spotlight: Claire Brown, Physics and Astronomy

Claire Brown is an undergraduate student from Waxhaw, N.C.

Student and Faculty Excellence (SAFE) fund recipient 

Project: “Sarcomere Modeling to Determine Changing Elasticity of Cardiac Muscle”

Funds from a SAFE grant allowed Brown to further her undergraduate research through the purchase of lab equipment that was pivotal in the continuation of her project. With support from mentor Dr. Brooke Hester, associate professor and Undergraduate Program Director, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Brown investigated how heart muscle changes as it ages or becomes diseased and hoped to discover a way to strengthen the cells of the muscle tissue, minimizing heart disease. This research is both applicable to the general public and in the space industry, as astronauts who spend long periods of time in zero gravity often have compromised muscle tissue.

“Undergraduate research has been a great opportunity, allowing me to get valuable experience in a lab setting. This opportunity has given me the chance to learn important skills, such as team work, troubleshooting and data collection,” said Brown.


About The SAFE Fund
Initially endowed by Hughlene and Bill Frank, the College of Arts and Sciences Student and Faculty Excellence (SAFE) Fund provides resources that can be used to support undergraduate, graduate and faculty experiences. The SAFE Fund provides funding for college priorities and opportunities that arise throughout the year. These unrestricted funds support student and faculty travel, publication support for faculty and student research opportunities. Learn more at:

About the Department of Physics and Astronomy 
The Department of Physics and Astronomy’s curriculum has an applied nature that includes a core of fundamental physics courses and laboratory experiences. The department prepares graduates for a variety of scientific, teaching or engineering professions, as well as future educational endeavors. Learn more at

Compiled and written by Barclay Ann Blankenship and Ellen Gwin Burnette
Nov. 18, 2020

Claire Brown, Physics and Astronomy. Photo submitted
Published: Nov 18, 2020 4:04pm