Dr. Ahasan is currently working as a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Infectious Diseases and Immunology of the University of Florida, Gainesville. His research focuses on quantifying the genetic variability among reoviruses negatively impacting Florida deer as the first step in developing an efficacious vaccine against these significant viral pathogens. Dr. Ahasan is also involved with research to identify various aquatic pathogens in fish, reptiles, and aquatic mammals using next generation sequencing technology. Before joining in UF in 2017, he completed his PhD at James Cook University in Townsville, Australia where he studied the green sea turtle gut microbiome. He is a faculty at the Hajee Mohammad Danesh Science and Technology University, Bangladesh where he serves as a molecular epidemiologist with expertise in emerging veterinary pathogens including zoonoses, host associated microbiota, and microbial ecology.
Photo: Identifying emerging pathogens using culture dependent and independent techniques.Learn more about Dr. Ahasan’s research
Dr. Ahlawat works on plant cell wall modification for biofuel production. He genetically manipulates cell wall specific enzymes like laccase and peroxidase using a tissue specific promoter to alter the lignin production for increasing saccharification. He has worked with DowDupont as an intern on maize cells for developing a rapid testing system for trait development. Dr. Ahlawat is currently a Biological Scientist in Horticulture/IFAS at UF. He earned his Ph.D. in Biological Sciences at Michigan Technological University. His doctoral work was sponsored through Indian governmentalfunding.
Dr. Ayfer Akgul’s research is focused on the application of proteomics approaches for the detection of oxalate transport proteins in the mammalian intestine. Dr. Akgul and colleagues seek to understand how intestinal oxalate transport is regulated. Oxalate is the major component of the most common type of kidney stone and hyperoxaluria is a significant risk factor for kidney stone disease. Dr. Akgul’s work also focuses on the gram negative bacteria, Oxalobacter formigenes, an obligate anaerobic bacterium that uses oxalate as an energy and carbon source. Her work aims to elucidate the interactions between gene regulation of O. formigenes and intestinal transporters during the colonization on intestine.Learn more about Dr. Akgul’s research
Dr. Stacey Alvarez-Alvarado, is a postdoctoral associate in Woods Neuromodulation Lab. Her primary research interest revolves around combating cognitive and physical function decline in sedentary, aging, and diseased individuals. Her current roles in the Woods Lab include conducting and implementing interventions (tDCS studies), data analysis (neuroimaging and behavioral), and developing interventions to enhance neurocognitive functioning. Her initial training was in the Cardiovascular Exercise Physiology laboratory at the Florida State University under the mentorship of Dr. Arturo Figueroa. Her master’s degree work included extensive training in vascular exercise physiology (e.g., measurements of endothelial function, arterial stiffness, pulse wave analysis, hemodynamics) and cardiovascular adaptations to aging and exercise training. Subsequently, Dr. Alvarez-Alvarado earned her doctoral degree within the Sport and Exercise Psychology laboratory at the Florida State University under the mentorship of Dr. Gershon Tenenbaum. Her research centered on the psychological (e.g., cognitive, affective, motivational) mechanisms underlying the linkage between workload and perceived effort. Specifically, the perceptual-cognitive-affective framework describes the dynamics and adaptations of effort-related components when exposed to incremental physical workloads.Learn more about Dr. Alvarez-Alvarado’s research
Dr. Juan J. Aristizabal-Henao is interested in the development of novel methods for the measurement of lipids and metabolites in health and disease. He has a particular interest in omega-3 fatty acids, including their metabolism, dietary intake and incorporation into cellular membranes. Dr. Dr. Juan J. Aristizabal-Henao earned his PhD in Physiology & Nutrition at the University of Waterloo, Canada.
Dr. Arora is investigating the natural history of disease progression in both upper and lower extremities using functional tests and magnetic resonance imaging in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) patients. While DMD is an incurable disease, Dr. Arora's reserach will make it possible to identify appropriate age groups to evaluate the efficacy of therapeutic drugs in onging clinical trials. Dr. Arora is involved in developing a protocol for an exercise study in mice using phosphorous magnetic resonance spectroscopy, where she is measuring the energetics in healthy controls with the long term goal of moving the protocol to DMD patients. This would help in early detection of the disease in DMD patients. Dr. Arora earned her PhD in Rehabilitation Science from the University of Florida. She has been recognized for her exceptional science communication skills, including "Best Poster Award in Research Section" at the American Physical Therapy Association–Combined Sections Meeting, Anaheim, CA.
Dr. Bohórquez's research has been focused on the intersection between biophysics and nanomaterials, particularly in the engineering and testing of nanomaterials for biomedical and consumer product applications. Currently, Dr. Bohórquez works in the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering Research Service Centers (RSC) at the University of Florida under the supervision of Dr. Luisa Amelia Dempere. She is using her training and expertise as a chemical and biomedical engineer to develop solutions to research problems faced by a wide variety of RSC users.Dr. Bohórquez has made significant contributions to the assessment of «stability» and «mobility» of nanoparticles in biological environments in-situ through magnetic measurements, and in the development of magnetic nanoparticles that are colloidally stable in biological environments suitable for magnetic fluid hyperthermia (figure below). She serves as a volunteer reviewer for the International Journal of Nanomedicine. Dr. Bohórquez obtained her undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from the Universidad Central de Venezuela in 2009. Later, she attended the University of Puerto Rico - Mayagüez where she completed an MS in Chemical Engineering (2012). Dr. Bohórquez earned her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Florida in 2016. Dr. Bohórquez was invited to present her research at P&G’s Focusing on Industrial Recruitment of Scientific Talent (FIRST) 2017 Conference.
Learn more about Dr. Bohórquez's Research
Dr. Bojko's research involves screening for and systematically identifying the symbionts of invertebrate and vertebrate hosts, primarily focusing on Crustacea. The diseases Dr. Bojko works with include microparasites (Microsporidia, bacteria and viruses) and macroparasites (Acanthocephala, Isopoda, Trematoda). He uses and develops histological, TEM, molecular diagnostic and metagenomic methods to better understand parasite diversity and taxonomy. One arm of Dr. Bojko's research involves understanding the role of the microbiome in biological invasions. A second includes understanding the effects of native diseases in local ecology. Dr. Bojko earned his Ph.D. in the Faculty of Biology Sciences, at the Universiyt of Leeds. Photo below: Blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) ecology project involving native range sampling and single-leg diagnostic methods to identify a virus, 'Callinectes sapidus Reovirus 1' (CsRV1).
Dr. Caltabellotta is currently a Postdoctoral Associate at the Program of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences working on developing a management strategy evaluation (MSE) framework and a user-friendly tool "Shiny App" that allows angler groups to explore and evaluate the relative effect of proposed management strategies (e.g., lower and upper size limits, bag limits, timing of openings, and degree of barotrauma reduction) to ensure a healthy fish stock while allowing reasonable access to this resource. He has experience as a Professor at the Centro Universitário Monte Serrat (Unimonte) from 2013 - 2016, teaching a total of 6 courses (Fishery Biology, Fisheries Management, Aquaculture, Fishery Technology, Ichthyology, and Nekton), where he served as a mentor for undergraduate student committees.Learn more about Dr. Caltabellotta’s research
Dr. Canton is researching the gut physiology of the agricultural pest Nezara viridula, the southern green stink bug, in order to gain insights that will help develop new and better strategies for its control in crop fields. He earned his PhD in Biochemistry from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Dr. Canton has developed a strong research career in insect control with multiple publications, as well as being co-founder and member of a science communication and outreach NGO. This combination is critical in bridging the gap between academia and those who would benefit from scientific applications. Right Photo: N. viridula, the southern green stink bug.
Dr. Castellano-Hinojosa is currently working as a postdoctoral associate of Soil Microbiology in the Department of Soil and Water Sciences of the University of Florida/IFAS Southwest Florida Research and Education Center (SWFREC). His research focuses on evaluating the impact of cover crops on the soil microbiome, tree health, and citrus production working with Dr. Sarah Strauss. Before joining UF in July 2019, he completed his PhD at University of Granada (Granada, Spain) where he studied the effect of nitrogen fertilization on the emission of greenhouse gasses and microbial biodiversity in agricultural soils. View Dr. Castellano-Hinojosa's publications.learn more about dr. Castellano-Hinojosa's Reserach
Dr. Cerquera is currently a postdoctoral associate in the Brain Dynamics Program of the Wilder Center for Epilepsy Research under the Department of Neurology, College of Medicine. Prior to joining the Brain Dynamics Program, Dr. Cerquera was a postdoctoral fellow in the Brain Mapping Lab in UF’s Department of Biomedical Engineering. Dr. Cerquera was instrumental in evaluating the utility of nonlinear-connectivity metrics for characterization of signals recorded with deep brain stimulation (DBS) devices and analysis of cognitive-motor tasks in electrocorticography (ECoG) signals, respectively, within the Brain Mapping Lab research group.
Dr Cerquera’s research interests include digital processing of neural and brain signals, linear and nonlinear time series analysis, data analysis and visualization. His primary focus is on programming softwares such as Matlab. He has published his work in peer-reviewed journals primarily in the fields of electroencephalography and polysomnography signal processing for characterization of biomarkers in neurophysiological disorders and sleep apnea, respectively. Currently, his research is focused on the characterization of ECoG signals for analysis of motor coordination.
Dr Cerquera earned his Bachelor degree in Biomedical Engineering from the Universidad Antonio Nariño (UAN) in Bogota, Colombia. Subsequently, he completed his master’s studies in industrial automatization at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia – Manizales, and his doctoral thesis in the Ph.D. program “Neurosensory sciences and systems” at the Carl von Ossietzky Universitaet Oldenburg, Germany, under the supervision of Dr Jan Alfred Freund. Prior to joining the University of Florida in June 2017, he was a faculty member at the School of Electronic and Biomedical Engineering of the Universidad Antonio Nariño. Dr. Cerquera is fluent in English, German and Spanish, the latter as his native language.LEARN MORE ABOUT DR. CERQUERA'S RESEARCH
Maria von Chamier, DVM, DACLAM, PhD currently works at the Department of Infectious Diseases and Immunology, University of Florida. Dr. von Chamier is a biomedical researcher boarded in laboratory animal medicine. Her current project involves the study of nicotine impacts on intrauterine infection and maternal-fetal host inflammatory response. She hopes that by defining nicotine's impact on the inflammatory response and the risk for fetal infection, health providers and health officials will be better informed to make health recommendations regarding vaping during pregnancy.
Photo: Polymorphonuclear cells have infiltrated the fetal membranes in a gestation day 18 rat 4 days post-infection with Mycoplasma pulmonis. This type of inflammation of fetal membranes can cause preterm labor in pregnant women. Nicotine may alter this inflammation, changing the risk for infection and adverse pregnancy outcomes. Photomicrograph cross section of the visceral yolk sac membrane in a Sprague Dawley rat; hematoxylin and eosin stains; scale bar equals 100 micrometers.Learn more about Dr. van Chamier’s research
Department of Aging and Geriatric Research
Dr. Corbett is currently a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Aging and Geriatric Research, College of Medicine. After completing his PhD in Exercise Physiology at Kent State University, he accepted a postdoctoral appointment at UF to study aging and mobility under the mentorship of Dr. Todd Manini. In 2016, he was awarded a fellowship to study pain and aging through the Integrative and Multidisciplinary Pain and Aging Research Training (IMPART) program (T32-AG049673, Fillingim PI) in partnership between the UF Pain Research Intervention Center of Excellence (PRICE) and UF Institute on Aging (IOA) under the mentorship of Drs. Roger Fillingim, Todd Manini, Joseph Riley, and Kimberly Sibille. As per the focus of his fellowship, Dr. Corbett’s current research interests are focused on the paradox of how movement can reduce, yet also induce pain, for the purpose of improving adherence to exercise prescription among older adults with chronic pain and reducing the risk of mobility disability. Dr. Corbett’s work has been presented at national and international science meetings.
Role of Movement-Evoked Pain in the Relationship between Chronic Pain and Age-Related DisabilityLearn More about Dr. Corbett's Research
Dr. Cornaby has experience in the higher education research industry investigating risk allele phenotypes in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Epstein-Barr virus, and psychosocial disorders that are the result of disease progression in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. While there is currently no regimen of therapy that can reverse the autoimmune nature of Lupus, improvement in the treatment of Lupus patients is the priority of Dr. Cornaby’s current studies. Currently he is involved in preclinical trials investigating the efficacy of metabolism inhibitors in treating Lupus and risk allele phenotypes on T cell regulation of the immune system. Both the directly translational and basic immunology research that Dr. Cornaby is involved in has the potential to improve treatment for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and our understanding of immune cell regulation. These and past projects have given Dr. Cornaby extensive experience with small animal models, conducting and managing pre-clinical trials, molecular and cell biology techniques, bio statistical data analysis, multi-color flow cytometry, and cell sorting. These skills have allowed him to continue contributing to his field as a clinical research scientist.
Dr. Cornaby earned his Ph.D. in Microbiology and Molecular Biology at Brigham Young University. He is the recipient of the prestigious Sterling Scholar of Science Presidential Scholar BYU Graduate Studies Grant (2015 - 2017) and is currently a UF College of Medicine Experimental Pathology FellowLearn more about Dr. Cornaby's Research
Dr. Crofts research is focused on understanding how intracellular inclusions that build up in the brain in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease can cause whole brain organ failure. Dr. Croft has developed novel methods that use organotypic brain slice cultures and recombinant adeno-associated viruses to model these diseases in a dish. By using these unique methods, Dr. Croft can examine at a molecular and cellular level how these intracellular inclusions can drive neurodegeneration and cellular dysfunction and how we can most appropriately therapeutically target them. Dr. Croft earned her PhD in Neuroscience from King's College London, United Kingdom, where she was selected as a finalist to present her research to politicians and policy makers in the UK advocating for increased research funding for dementia. Dr. Croft has recently been awarded a 2 year post-doctoral fellowship from the Brightfocus Foundation to begin her path to academic independence.Learn More about Dr. Croft's Research
Dr. de Bem Oliveira's research has been focused on the intersection between breeding and genomics, particularly in improving the quality and the time for the release of blueberry varieties. Her research is focused on generating models that associate genetic information with the behavior of the crops in the field. By doing so, her models can predict the best material for propagation, reducing the time for cultivar release; the models developed can also help directing crosses, thus increasing the genetic gain for future release. Currently, Dr. de Bem Oliveira works in the Horticultural Sciences Department at the University of Florida under the supervision of Dr. Patricio R. Muñoz. She is using her training and expertise as a geneticist and plant breeder to develop solutions to optimize the selection process for polyploid species. She primarily works with blueberries, but also has experience in developing models for genome prediction in sugarcane, alfalfa, and soybean. Dr. de Bem Oliveira has made significant contributions to the application of genomic technologies to optimize the breeding process. By using bioinformatics and quantitative genetics theories, she has published the first genomic prediction study applied for blueberry. Dr. de Bem Oliveira obtained her undergraduate degree in Agronomic Engineering from the Federal University of Santa Catarina in 2012. Later, she attended the Federal University of Goias where she completed an MS in Genetic and Plant Breeding (2014). To accomplish her Ph.D. Dr. de Bem Oliveira was awarded a one-year fellowship at the University of Florida (grant n. 88881.131685/2016-01 PDSE/CAPES/MEC), where she developed her expertise on the application of genomic data in breeding processes. Later she earned her Ph.D in Genetic and Plant Breeding from the Federal University of Goias (2018). Find Dr. de Bem Oliveira on LinkedIn.Learn More about Dr. de Bem Oliveira's Research
Dr. Dipesh’s research is focused on the study of natural product (NP) biosynthesis mechanism involving interesting enzyme reactions and production of such NPs in customized microbial cell factories by metabolic engineering and synthetic biological tools. Dr. Dipesh earned his PhD in Biochemistry in the Department of Life Science and Biochemical Engineering at Sun Moon University, South Korea.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis is currently the number one killer amongst the infectious pathogens. Dr. Hedwin Kitdorlang Dkhar (Kit) works as a postdoctoral associate with Dr. Josephine Clark-Curtiss and Dr. Roy Curtiss III in the UF Emerging Pathogens Institute. This group has developed the Recombinant Attenuated Salmonella Vaccines (RASVs) technology for finding cures for many human and animal infectious diseases. Kit leads the Tuberculosis vaccine group, which demands project design, multi-tasking, planning, and training of colleagues. Kit is currently testing an improved RASV vaccine carrying various combinations of Mtb antigens using the mouse model system. His expertise is in microbial infection biology, immunology, molecular biology, cell culture, protein purification, and lipid and cell Biology. Kit works in a BSL2/BSL3 biosafety level facility for immunization and challenge of mice. The major goal of Kit’s project is to answer the big question, can we find a better vaccine to replace or boost BCG? Kit earned his Ph.D.from CSIR-IMTECH-JNU, India in 2014 under the supervision of Dr. Pawan Gupta where he worked with the host-pathogen interaction paradigm during the course of tuberculosis infection.
Dr. Durkin is interested in the ecology and evolution of parasites and parasitic lifestyles. She works primarily with a facultatively parasitic mite and fly host system. Currently, Dr. Durkin is working with a behavioral disease ecologist to quantify parasitic behavior in the mites, an important component to the evolution of parasitism in some animals. Dr. Durkin earned her Ph.D. in Biology and Ecology at the University of Alberta, Canada.
Photo: Multiple species of wild-caught Drosophila flies with multiple species of mites attached.
Breast cancer cells use cathepsin proteases to break out of the breast duct and travel throughout the body, forming metastasis. Dr. Dykes is investigating whether inhibiting cathepsins using novel agents can slow breast cancer mestastasis. Dr. Dykes earned her PhD from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Louisiana State University Health Science Center-Shreveport.
Dr. Elbadry is engaged in arbovirus research in Haiti. She is leading two research activities investigating the transmission of zika virus in Haiti. In addition, Dr. Elbadry is investigating the level of transmission of Keystone virus in Florida, as part of an awarded grant with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. She was the recipient of The Grinter fellowship in 2011, a travel award from the European Society of Virology in 2018 and recieved the best postdoctoral award in 2018. Dr. earned her Ph.D. at UF in Global Health.
Learn more about Dr. Elbadry's research
Dr. Ence analyzes genomic sequence data to annotate genes in newly sequenced genomes and to map genes that control economically valuable traits for breeders and growers. He earned his Ph.D. in Human Genetics at the University of Utah. In addition to his research contributions, Dr. Ence serves as a mentor for enthusiastic young scientists.
(Above) Mapping Strategy for Disease Gene LociLearn more about Dr. Ence's Research
Dr. Endara uses a combination of molecular and morphological data to answer questions about plant evolution, particularly in groups of Neotropical orchids and gymnosperms. She is currently working on developing bioinformatic pipelines to extract valuable morphological data contained in taxonomic descriptions in order to generate large phenotypic datasets. Dr. Endara's contributions to evolutionary biology and botany are helping to facilitate efforts to answer pressing questions regarding the origin and diversification of land plants. Photo: Dr. Endara and colleague Mike Wenzel collecting orchid specimens for microbiome analysis.Learn More about Dr. Endara's Research
Dr. Fanfarillo’s research focuses on the theoretical investigation of unconventional superconductors. Everybody is familiar with normal conductors, for example, the cables that bring electrical current into our houses. Normal conductors are subject to energy losses due to the disordered movement of electrons. We can feel these energy losses as heat. Electrons in superconductors move in a coherent way so that the electrical resistance drops to zero and energy is not lost. The first superconductors were discovered at the beginning of the last century and the theoretical understanding of the mechanisms underlying superconductors began to develop fifty years later. In recent decades, new and promising superconducting materials have been discovered, however a theoretical understanding of unconventional superconductivity is still lacking. Dr. Fanfarillo’s research aims to explore the mechanism behind unconventional superconductivity and identify the optimal conditions for superconductivity in order to design and manufacture new superconductors that could be useful in the manufacture of technologies like magnetic levitation trains, advanced magnetic resonance techniques for medical diagnostics, and a new generation of supercomputers.
Dr. Fanfarillo’s project SuperCoop has been selected for funding within the European H2020 Program and she has been awarded a MSCA individual global fellowship. She is currently at UF for 18 months collaborating with Prof. Peter Hirschfeld, after which, she will return to Italy to complete her work in collaboration with Prof. Massimo Capone SISSA. Dr. Fanfarillo earned her Ph.D. at the University of Rome "Sapienza".
Dr. Joao Pedro Ferreira studies the regional economic impacts of migrations, consumption changes and natural hazards. His applied research is dedicated to agricultural products, tourism impacts, urban areas and planning, and international and regional migrations. Dr. Ferreira earned his PhD in Sustainable Energy Systems, specialization in Regional and Urban Economics from University of Coimbra, Portugal. He has received 4 international awards and published more than 10 articles in top international journals.
Dr. Frick's research focuses on the genetic basis of tomato flavor and the use of molecular genetics and advanced breeding technologies to restore great heirloom flavor into high-performance varieties. Dr. Frick has been awarded the USDA NIFA Pre-doctoral and Post-doctoral Research Fellowships to support her work. She earned her Ph.D. in Plant and Microbial Biosciences at the Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.Learn More About Dr. Frick's Research
Dr. Gaire received his PhD from the University of Florida in 2018. During his graduate studies, he worked at the intersection of neuroscience and neural engineering disciplines, particularly focusing on brain-implanted microdevices. He studied the effect of biochemical and mechanical intervention strategies in mitigating foreign body response and improving the functional longevity of brain-implanted microdevices and developed novel tools to facilitate the evaluation of cellular response to brain injury and disease models. Currently, he is working on developing new animal models of regeneration, inspired by the African Spiny Mouse to understand the role of inflammation in mammalian regeneration.
Dr. Giovanini is currently working as a postdoctoral associate in the Florida Institute for Cybersecurity (FICS) in the University of Florida’s College of Engineering. His research focuses on using machine learning models to develop behavior-based continuous authentications systems, which aim to improve security against computer attackers. He is also working to identify security vulnerabilities in programming languages. Before joining UF in August 2019, Dr. Giovanini was an assistant professor at Pontifical Catholic University of Parana (PUCPR), Brazil, which is among the leaders in teaching and scientific research in Brazil according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. His main activities there were teaching (mainly programming and computing subjects), research (machine learning models to predict risk/fear of falling in the elderly, around $30,000 in grants), and faculty training (as a specialist in team-based learning). Dr. Giovanini has papers published in peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings, and he also reviews papers for the Int. Journal of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He holds a Ph.D. degree in Computer Science (2018), an M.Sc. degree in Computer Science (2015), and a B.S. degree (with honors) in Electrical Engineering (2012), all earned from PUCPR.
Dr. Godinez Leiva is currently working as a postdoctoral associate in the Division of Endocrinology in the the University of Florida's College of Medicine, Gainesville. His research focuses on quantifying the prevalence and the relationship between the metabolic diseases Diabetes Mellitus and Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NASH) in Florida. Dr. Godinez Leiva is also working to identify the metabolic function of new medications that can improve the physiological activity of the liver using the medical imaging technique MRN. Before joining UF in 2019, Dr. Godinez Leiva completed his MD at Universidad Hispanoamericana in San Jose, Costa Rica where he studied general medicine. As part of his medical education, he completed internships in clinical medicine at the Hospital San Vicente de Paul – Heredia, Costa Rica, Hospital Max Peralta – Cartago, Costa Rica and Hospital Max Teran Valls – Puntarenas, Costa Rica. Dr. Godinez Leiva is a member at the Colegio de Medicos y Cirujanos de Costa Rica since 2018. He has also competed trainings in BCLS and ACLS from the American Heart Association.Learn more about Dr. Godinez Leiva’s research
Dr. Gonzalez-Gonzalez earned her PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the National Autonomous University of Mexico and is currently a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Biology. The overarching goal of her research is to understand how biotic and abiotic factors shape the eco-evolutionary dynamics of host-parasite interactions. Dr. Gonzalez-Gonzalez combines theoretical and experimental approaches on a tractable insect system (fruit fly) to study the effects of infection and immune response at the molecular, individual and population level. She is currently working on deciphering how vertically transmitted viruses affect the sexual behavior of fruit flies. In addition, she is studying the immunopathologies caused by viral infections in insects.
Her previous research has been devoted to understand how parasites adapt to different ecological niches and stressful environments by assessing the levels, genetic mechanisms and phenotypic consequences of the genetic diversity present in bacterial populations.
During her free time she loves cooking new food recipes from around the world, reading novels and dancing ecstatic dance.Learn more about Dr. Gonzalez-Gonzalez's Research
Dr. Anirban Guha’s main area of research lies in photosynthesis and plant water relations. He has been working on photosynthesis, transpiration, chlorophyll fluorescence and plant hydraulic characteristics in higher plants including trees, horticultural plants as well as different monocots and herbaceous models. Dr. Guha has been conducting research and unravelling the ecophysiological responses of tree species to extreme climate (heat, drought and elevated CO2) using growth chambers and FACE experimental set ups. To answer his research questions, Dr. Guha uses various ecophysiological approaches and imaging techniques including fluorescence, isotopes, gas exchange, sap flow, metabolite profiling, growth traits, and plant anatomy. Currently, he is doing his postdoc at the Citrus Ecophysiology laboratory of Dr. Christopher Vincent at the Citrus Research and Extension Centre, Florida. Dr. Guha’s research is focused on light and shading effects on HLB disease severity in citrus, including effects on photosynthesis, transpiration and carbohydrate allocation. Dr. Guha earned his Ph.D. in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Hyderabad, India.Photo: Determining leaf gas exchange rates.Learn more about Dr. Guha's Research
With a research focus on remote sensing of plant health, Dr. Rene Heim would like to improve the efficiency of agricultural systems to reduce pressure on our natural environments without having to sacrifice productivity. He has a strong interest in openly communicating and integrating discipline-specific knowledge across disciplines. To improve the quality of his work and make it applicable, he is trying to maintain knowledge from disciplines such as plant pathology, functional ecology and computational sciences. Dr. Heim earned a joint PhD at Macquarie University, Australia, and Universitaet Hamburg, Germany. His PhD research was recognized and awarded with distinction. He has been a scholar of the prestigious German scholarship foundation and has a strong international network of collaborators.
Photo: Plant properties, may it be disease symptoms or different types of leaves as seen in the photo above, can be discriminated by looking at their spectral signatures. You can find example signatures on Dr. Heim’s website. Sometimes distinctive properties are not as obvious as those in the image but Dr. Heim and colleagues can still use spectral signatures to detect them. Detecting diseases before obvious symptoms appear is one possible application of this research.Learn More about Dr. Heim's Research
Dr. Hilsenroth’s research unites ecology and economics with her interests focusing on ecological change. Specifically, she assesses changes in environments which humans depend on from both an ecological and economic vantage point. Previously, Dr. Hilsenroth’s research evaluated the effect of increasing seawater temperature on the production of black-lip pearl oysters in French Polynesia. While these oysters don’t get consumed commercially, they do produce black pearls- an iconic symbol of French Polynesia. Now, she is working to determine private landowner’s perceptions of wildfire risk and determine factors which would influence landowner’s participation in programs to reduce wildfire risk on their property. Dr. Hilsenroth earned her Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Ecology from the University of Florida, where she was also the recipient of the Graduate Student Teaching Award. She is now a postdoctoral researcher in the Food and Resource Economics Department.
Dr. Hu uses next generation sequencing to study gene expression of plant pathogens and the interaction of microbial communities under agriculture management. She earned her Ph.D. in Microbiology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Dr. Hu has published four peer-reviewed papers and currently has three manuscripts on the way.
Transcranial electrical stimulation (tES) is a promising non-invasive neuromodulation technique to improve brain functions. While useful, observed tES outcomes have largely varied across individuals, and thus poses a concern in reliability and reproducibility of tES application. Using multimodal neuroimaging and computational models, Dr. Indahlastari’s research goals are to improve tES reliability/reproducibility by: predicting tES current dose in stimulated brain regions, identifying/reducing possible sources of individual variability in tES outcomes, and investigating possible mechanisms of action that contribute to physiological changes caused by tES. Dr. Indahlastari is part of the Woods Neuromodulation Laboratory in the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology. In this lab, her current role involves data analysis in tES participants collected from clinical trials. Specific projects include building a workflow that integrates all tES data analysis (behavior, neuroimaging and computational models) and developing new tools for quality control in tES to ensure reliable tES application across studies.
Dr. Indahlastari earned her PhD in Biomedical Engineering at Arizona State University. She recently received the 2018 NYC Neuromodulation & NANS Young Investigator Award for her work in neuromodulation and was an inaugural recipient of the UF McKnight Brain Institute Trainee Enhancement Opportunities, or MBI-TEOs, awards.
Dr. Kara A. Johnson is a postdoctoral associate in Dr. Coralie de Hemptinne’s lab in the Department of Neurology and the Norman Fixel Institute for Neurological Diseases. Her current research focuses on improving the efficacy of deep brain stimulation (DBS) therapy for movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. Specifically, she is interested in combining invasive neurophysiological recordings, neuroimaging, and computational models to optimize stimulation to improve motor and nonmotor symptoms. Her long-term goal is to further our mechanistic understanding of the therapeutic effects of DBS and develop patient-specific approaches to improve symptoms and quality of life for patients suffering from debilitating neurological and psychiatric diseases.
Prior to joining Dr. de Hemptinne’s lab, Dr. Johnson earned her B.S. (2016) and Ph.D. (2020) degrees in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Utah, and she was awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship in 2018. Her doctoral research identified predictors of therapeutic response to DBS for treatment-refractory Tourette syndrome using neuroimaging and computational models in multicenter studies. She is also especially passionate about advocating for equality and inclusivity and encouraging young women to pursue careers in science, technology, and engineering through outreach and mentorship.Learn more about Dr. Johnson’s Research
Dr. Jones is a clinical Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Medicine, where he studies global health issues. He holds an MD degree from the University of Louisville, two MSc degrees from King’s College London and Tulane University, and recently completed an internal medicine residency in Cincinnati, OH before coming to UF. He serves half of the year as an attending physician at UF-Gainesville and the other half at clinical sites in Ghana, Haiti, Peru, and Tanzania. Beyond patient care, he studies the use of ultrasound in tropical medicine, the interaction of environment and non-communicable diseases, and health systems quality improvement; his global health research focuses on peace negotiations, rebuilding health systems after civil war, and the role of health in reinforcing or undermining the transition to peace. He has an ongoing study of different peace outcomes in intrastate conflicts and their impact on maternal and child health; he is currently investigating the sovereigntization and political uses of infectious diseases with epidemic potential. He has a personal interest in the role of medical education as a means to rebuild societies after war and teaches remotely in the Horn of Africa in this regard. Along with colleagues in the UK, Dr. Jones was recognized in the House of Commons for redesigning the medical education curriculum which is now used throughout the Horn of Africa.
Dr. Jones recently completed the Gorgas Course in Tropical Medicine in Lima, Peru, where he earned the prestigious designation of DTM&H.Learn More about Dr. Jones' research
Dr. Khan is a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Pharmacodynamics. The general goal of his postdoctoral research is to selectively target Bcl-2 family of pro-survival proteins (such as Bcl-xl and Bcl-2) for proteasomal degradation in cancer cells by using proteolysis targeting chimera (PROTAC) technology, thereby reducing dose-limiting and on-target toxicities caused by Bcl-xl/Bcl-2 inhibitors while maintaining similar or improved potency. Dr. Khan and colleagues have found that Bcl-xl PROTACs can selectively induce Bcl-xl degradation in cancer cells but not in platelets leading to reduced thrombocytopenia because platelets depend on Bcl-xl for their survival. In addition to providing survival advantage to cancer cells, Bcl-2 pro-survival proteins including Bcl-xl also play pivotal role in developing resistance to chemo- and targeted therapies. Therefore, another major goal of Dr. Khan’s research is to devise better therapeutic strategies aimed at targeting different tumor types by combining Bcl-xl PROTACs with standard-of-care therapies. To achieve his research goals, Dr. Khan uses several molecular and cell biology techniques, animal models and advanced biophysical technologies. He has presented his research in several symposiums and scientific meetings including ASH. Before joining UF as a postdoc, Dr. Khan earned his Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from the Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow, India, where he studied the role of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in breast cancer metastasis and therapeutic strategies to inhibit EMT and metastatic progression. While pursuing his Ph.D., Dr. Khan was conferred with outstanding research scholar and best thesis awards in recognition of his accomplishments.
Dr. Sarah Kim is a senior postdoctoral associate at the University of Florida’s Center for Pharmacometrics and Systems Pharmacology in Lake Nona (Orlando), working under the supervision by Dr. Stephan Schmidt, Dr. Mirjam Trame and Dr. Larry Lesko. Her current research projects focus on: 1) systems pharmacology modeling to improve drug safety, for which she received the David Goldstein Trainee Award from the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics (ASCPT) in 2017 and two Presidential Trainee Awards from ASCPT in 2017 and 2018, 2) population pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) modeling and simulations to evaluate the impact of potential bioinequivalence on PD, and 3) physiologically-based absorption pharmacokinetic (PBA-PK) modeling to evaluate the impact of drug formulation and system-specific properties on PK. She also serves as a reviewer for the European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and was selected as one of the most productive reviewers in 2017. Dr. Kim earned her PhD in Biomathematics in the Department of Mathematics at Florida State University, USA.
Dr. Kimmel’s main research interests revolve around insect conservation and restoration while investigating how different land management practices impact the pollinator/flower-visiting insect community. Dr. Jaret Daniels and Dr. Kimmel have received a state wildlife grant to examine the distribution, ecology, and habitat requirements of the blue calamintha bee (Osmia calaminthae), a very rare bee that is only known to occur on the southern part of the Lake Wales Ridge in Florida. Dr. Kimmel earned his Ph.D. at UF in Entomology.Learn more about Dr. Kimmel's Research
Dr. Melinda Knuth is evaluating consumer decision making and purchasing behavior related to plants and other horticultural products. Dr. Knuth earned her Ph.D. in Horticulture at Texas A&M University. In 2017 she selected for the AmericanHort Scholar Program.
Dr. Aritra Kundu is working on two primary projects at the University of Florida. The first project in the field of peripheral nerve stimulation/neuromodulation for end organ function is providing knowledge that helps to optimize blood glucose regulatory parameters and blood flow by determination of the optimal neurostimulation parameters (current intensity, pulse duration, pulse frequency, train burst duration and waveform) of the nerve sites (vagal sensory, spinal sensory, parasympathetic motor, sympathetic motor) for eventual use in diabetes prevention and therapy. This project will ultimately provide insight into the regulation of β-cell function when the autonomic and sensory nervous system is in healthy or diseased conditions.
Dr. Kundu’s second project aims to enable effective bidirectional control of dexterous hand prosthesis in real-time. The goal is to provide amputees with a prosthetic hand system that moves and provides sensation like a natural hand. The IMplantable Multimodal Peripheral REcording and Stimulation System (IMPRESS) includes electrodes for measuring prosthesis control signals from muscles and motor nerves, and sensory feedback will be delivered through electrodes placed in sensory nerves. The other goal of this project is to validate a computational model with experimental results that would be used to predict recruitment performance of the IMPRESS electrodes.
Dr. Kundu earned his PhD in Biomedical Engineering at Aalborg University. He was awarded best in the posters group at the 2017 University of Florida Postdoctoral Research Symposium.
Dr. Kuwar is engineering Bacillus thunringensis (Bt) derived proteins and toxins to increase their efficacy against insect pests.
He earned his PhD in Molecular Biology in the Department of Entomology at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Jena, Germany.
Dr. Kuwar is an International Max Planck Research Scholar. He has beed regonized for his scientific communications, including a best poster award, and has given talks at a variety of professional conferences and meetings. He actively contributes to UF and his field as a teacher and through outreach.
Dr. Laboissonniere's research at UF focuses on the characterization of immunotherapies for the treatment of C9orf72 ALS/FTD. The development of these therapies will hopefully extend beyond C9 ALS/FTD and be applicable to other proteinopathies and repeat-associated disorders.
She received the 2019 Milton Safenowitz postdoctoral fellowship from the ALS Association for a project she is leading involving the development of a vaccine for the treatment of C9 ALS/FTD.
Dr. Laboissonniere earned her Ph.D. in Neuroscience at Iowa State University.Learn more about Dr. Laboissonniere's research
Diabetes is considered one of the largest emerging threats to health in the 21st century and the sixth main cause of death in the USA. Individuals with diabetes are susceptible to chronic nonhealing wounds whereby such wounds precede 84% of all lower extremity amputations and once amputation occurs, patients have a 5 year mortality rate of 50%. In these chronic wounds, opportunistic bacteria colonize the damaged tissue and inhibits the natural healing process. Dr. Lam’s research focus is on understanding the role of iron in an opportunistic bacterium, Enterococcus faecalis. In addition to its prevalence in causing numerous nosocomial infections in hospital patients, it is also a commensal of human oral cavity and gastrointestinal tract. Moreover, E. faecalis is commonly associated with surgical wound infections, even in the absence of diabetes. It is of importance to understand the evolution from a harmless commensal to being one of the most dangerous pathogens with regards to antibiotic resistance in the recent years. Bacteria require essential transition metals for a multitude of processes, and efficient acquisition of iron is important for infection. Dr. Lam’s working hypotheses are that bacterial metal uptake systems play a major role in wound infection and that patients with uncontrolled diabetes are unable to maintain metal homeostasis at the wound site, and this negatively affects the wound healing process. Dr. Lam earned her PhD in Biological Sciences at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. One of Dr. Lam’s notable research accomplishments was the establishment of an in vivo model for Enterococcus faecalis colonization of the gastrointestinal tract.
Dr. Carly Logan's work examines dysregulation in the brain related to disorders and disease. Her past work was been focused on cocaine use disorder, and her current work is on deficits in learning and memory in the aging population. Understanding alterations in the brain related to such disorders allows for examination of possible treatment options for individuals struggling with these disorders. Dr. Logan earned her PhD in Behavioral Neuroscience in the Psychology department at the University of Florida. As a graduate student, Dr. Logan taught four undergraduate courses and published two journal articles for which she was first author.
Photo: Fluorescent in situ hybridization of the glutamate receptor mGlu2 (red) in neurons (green) that project from the prefrontal cortex to the nucleus accumbens. These receptors and neurons contribute to reward-seeking.
Dr. Tao Long is a postdoctoral research associate at the UF’s Center for Pharmacometrics and Systems Pharmacology in Lake Nona (Orlando), working under the supervision by Dr. Stephan Schmidt. His current research project focuses on developing and verifying a physiologically-based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) model to evaluate the impact of drug-drug interactions (DDI) on the pharmacokinetics (PK) and pharmacodynamics (PD) of Tramadol when administered alone or in combination with enzyme perpetrator drugs. Dr. Long serves as ad-hoc reviewer for more than 14 international journals including Journal of Pharmaceutical Analysis, Neurochemistry International, AAPS PharmSciTech, European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences etc. He earned his PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences in School of Pharmacy at University of Pittsburgh, PA, USA. Prior to joining CPSP, Dr. Long worked as ORISE Fellow in Office of New Drug and Office of Clinical Pharmacology, US Food and Drug Administration, MD, USA.Learn more about Dr. Long’s research
Dr. Nidza Vizcarra Marichal’s research focuses on multilingual education, teacher education, two-way immersion programs, english learners in secondary rural settings, and translanguaging. Employing teacher knowledge and place-based education as lenses, Dr. Marichal’s narrative-informed qualitative work examines what teachers say they know related to the teaching and learning of english learners in a rural secondary school community. Dr. Marichal’s work is part of Project STELLAR, a five-year teacher/leadership professional development program for in-service teachers in rural settings, funded by the US Department of Education in collaboration with Levy County School Board. As part of this collaboration, Dr. Marichal provides onsite feedback to teacher participants in ESOL matters, serves as an interpreter in different teacher-parent-administration gatherings, translates relevant teaching materials to Spanish, revises and co-writes articles for publication, documenting data, infusing ESOL content in professional development courses, and disseminating Project STELLAR’s work. Dr. Marichal earned her PhD at UF in Curriculum and Instruction and Bilingual Education. Photo below: Dr. Marichal presenting a workshop for teachers in rural Levy County about WIDA.
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Dr. Eric G. Middleton is researching management techniques for Lebbeck Mealybug, a new and damaging pest of citrus in Florida. His goal is to provide growers with tools to combat this pest, while also limiting the use of harsh pesticides as much as possible. Dr. Middleton earned his Ph.D. in Entomology at the University of Minnesota.
Dr. Calia A. Morais is a post-doctoral fellow in the Pain Research and Intervention Center of Excellence (PRICE) at the University of Florida under the mentorship of Drs. Roger Fillingim, Michael Robinson and Emily Bartley. Dr. Morais earned her B.S. in Psychology from the University of Florida and M.A. from The University of Alabama. She completed her predoctoral internship in clinical psychology at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital and received her Ph.D. from the University of Alabama in 2019 (clinical health psychology track). Dr. Morais is interested in pain disparities research and cultural adaptations of assessment tools and psychosocial treatments for chronic pain. She has research and clinical experience working with minority populations (i.e., Latinx) and is also interested in community-engagement research to facilitate the implementation and sustainability of evidence-based treatments for chronic pain in community settings.Learn more about Dr. Morais’s research
Dr. Mowla’s primary research focuses on the applications of brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) for communication and control. Dr. Mowla earned his PhD. in Electrical & Computer Engineering in the Brain and Body Sensing (BBS) lab at Kansas State University, KS, USA, under the mentorship of Dr. David Thompson, where he primarily worked on various applications of BCIs using electroencephalography (EEG) (e.g., spelling task using EEG recordings, emotion recognition from brain signals). Here at UF, Dr. Mowla is a postdoctoral trainee under the mentorship of Prof. Karim Oweiss, where he will is focused on the optimization of Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) parameters for essential tremor patients.
Photo: Setting a 64-channel EEG cap on a team member at K-State BBS lab for a spelling BCIs classification test.Learn more about Dr. Mowla’s Research
Dr. Bárbara S. F. Müller combines genomics and transcriptomics with population and quantitative genetics to elucidate the genetic basis of complex traits in plants, including maize, peanut, common bean and eucalypts. Dr. Müller obtained her bachelor’s degree in Biology from the Federal University of Goiás (UFG, Brazil) and her master’s degree in Genetics and Breeding from the Federal University of Viçosa (UFV, Brazil). Dr. Müller earned her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of Brasília (UnB, Brazil) and was a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Institute of Plant Breeding, Genetics & Genomics (IPBGG) at University of Georgia (UGA, USA). Currently, Dr. Müller is a Postdoctoral Associate at the Plant Cell & Molecular Biology Laboratory (A. Mark Settles’ lab) from the Horticultural Sciences Department at University of Florida (UF, USA). She has experience applying genome-wide association studies (GWAS) to detect and characterize the genetics behind important traits and, from a more breeding applied perspective, she applies genomic selection (GS) to accelerate breeding cycles and increase selection efficiency in plants. Müller is particularly motivated by how these approaches provide the possibility to translate scientific knowledge to practical breeding challenges, directly impacting society in a positive way for food, feedstock, paper/pulp and wood production.
Figure: Genomic selection (GS) in forest trees (Grattapaglia et al. 2018).Learn more about Dr. Müller's Research
Insects consistently attack and damage our food sources (crops). Often times, they prefer our crops over ones they have evolved to eat, also known as host switching. Dr. Nguyen aims to understand the physiological and evolutionary mechanisms that allow insects to host switch. Dr. Nguyen earned his PhD in Evolutionary Biology from the University of Vermont. He is interested in the forces that shape all levels of biological diversity from ecosystems to genes.Learn more about Dr. Nguyen's Research
Dr. Nguyen conducts research to determine and implement advanced stabilization techniques and time marching schemes for the deliverable PSAAP-II code CMT-Nek (NNSA’s Predictive Science Academic Alliance Program II ), as well as integrate the finding of CS and exascale behavioral emulation into this code. He earned his PhD from the Department of Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Trento, Italy. Right Photo: The falling droplet with a HLLEM Riemann solver.Learn more about Dr. Nguyen's research
Dr. Nouri is analyzing steroid hormones and performing lipidomics for various biological samples using ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography mass spectrometry. These analyses are part of the toxicology research studies in the Center for Environmental and Human Toxicology. Dr. Nouri is developing high-throughput and robust techniques for quantification of hormones and lipids, especially in low-volume or small size samples. He had been awarded a Japanese government scholarship and received his PhD in Biotechnology from University of Tsukuba, Japan in 2011. Dr. Nouri has published about 30 peer-reviewed papers or book chapters and is skillful in reviewing manuscripts for journals in plant biology and proteomics.Learn more about Dr. Nouri's Research
Dr. Palit’s research has focused on exploring mechanisms influencing pain processing (e.g., genetics, emotion, ethnic differences), primarily through the use of psychophysiological assessment and quantitative sensory testing methods. Her current research interests include further investigation of biopsychosocial determinants of pain across the lifespan, as well as development of novel psychological interventions and enhancement of existing treatment approaches for chronic pain management. Dr. Palit was awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship in 2013 in recognition of her future contributions to science and education. This award supported her doctoral dissertation work in Clinical Psychology at the University of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Shipra Pandey is working on the biosynthesis and characterization of bio-nanomaterials (nanoemulsion and nanoparticles), and their interaction with pathogens during antimicrobial activity. Dr. Pandey earned her PhD at the Academy of Scientific & Innovative Research, CSIR-National Botanical Research Institute in the Division of Microbial Technology. Her PhD research focused on deciphering the synthesis of peppermint nanoemulsion for controlling nectrophytic fungus Alternaria solani in tomato, and observing the changes that occur during tripartite interaction at physiological, biochemical and molecular level.
Dr. Pannerselvam is working on the construction of a pesticidal protein database and the development of an improved classification algorithm. Dr. Pannerselvam earned his Ph.D. in Molecular Science and Technology from Ajou University, South Korea, with a Brain Korea (BK21) Scholarship funded by the Korean government. He has also been awarded a Senior Research Fellowship by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, India. Image, below: Development of a Pesticidal Protein Resource Center.
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Dr. Parmar's professional research interests include multidisciplinary areas of biological sciences, including Pharmacology, Toxicology, and molecular/cellular biology, which are complimented by his extensive research experience in Neuroscience. Dr. Parmar has been involved in CNS research focused on understanding the pathological mechanisms (molecular, genetic, and cellular basis) underlying the development of neurodegenerative diseases (Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s) and potential therapeutic intervention to halt the disease progression. Currently, as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Center for Translational Research in Neurodegenerative diseases (CTRND), Dr. Parmar is focused on understanding the role of Rab GTPase proteins in neurodegenerative α-synucleinopathies (Parkinson's, Dementia with Lewy Body & Multiple system atrophy) and tauopathies [Alzheimer's, Corticobasal Degeneration (CBD) & Progressive Supranuclear Palsy(PSP)] disorder. Further, Dr. Parmar has been involved in research focused on evaluating genetic risk factors associated with PSP and CBD using AAV-mediated technology. He earned his Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Toxicology at Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA. Rab GTPase regulatory cycle.Learn more about Dr. Parmar's research
Dr. Parra Giraldo works at the UF/IFAS-Tropical Research & Education Center Diagnostic Clinic. His research is focused on the development of rapid and early techniques for the detection of Laurel Wilt caused by Raffaelea lauricola. Before coming to UF, Dr. Parra Giraldo worked at the Tropical Fruits Program of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture. Dr. Parra Giraldo and colleagues deeply impacted coconut growers along the Colombian Pacific Coast by improving the trapping systems for the capture of the American Palm Weevil to reduce the incidence of the Red Ring Disease. Through extension work, they were able to share research results along most of the coconut producing communities in the Tumaco Bay (Over 200 coconut growers), Guapi and Timbiquí. Dr. Parra Giraldo earned his PhD in Botany and Plant Pathology at Purdue University.
Dr. Pastor Palomo’s research focuses on genetics and pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases, in particular type 1 diabetes (T1D). Her research is improving our understanding of the role of variation in the expression of genes associated with T1D or the structure of their protein products impacts T1D pathology.
Dr. Pastor Palomo completed her PhD in Medicine at the University of Barcelona in the area of early diagnosis and monitoring of HIV infection in Sub-Saharan Africa with support from a fellowship from the Spanish Ministry of Health. Throughout her doctoral degree, she developed a project that was co-funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Spanish Ministry of Science. This project was a multi-site collaboration involving 7 international research institutes where Dr. Pastor Palomo played the active role of study coordinator. While based in a research center in Mozambique, she trained, managed and led a multidisciplinary-team, as well as supervised patient recruitment, data collection and sample processing. Later on, Dr. Pastor Palomo accomplished the quantification and data analysis of several soluble and cell-associated biomarkers in the study samples at the laboratory facilities in Barcelona. The findings from her thesis provided a detailed characterization of immune biomarkers over the different stages of HIV infection. This work shed light into the early pathogenic events following HIV acquisition and allowed for identification a valuable plasma biomarker, the IP-10 cytokine that can be used to accurately screen individuals for early HIV infection and treatment failure in scarce-resource settings. Consequently, Dr. Pastor Palomo and colleagues have published 7 peer-reviewed articles in high impact-factor journals and different industrial companies and research teams have shown their interest in further validating the findings to develop a commercial diagnostic test based on the biomarker.
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Department of Pharmaceutics - Lake Nona
Dr. Michelle Pressly is developing and applying mechanistic disease-drug-trial models to inform clinically-important drug development and regulatory evaluation questions in women’s health, with a focus on postmenopausal osteoporosis and hormonal contraceptives. Applied computational approaches include but are not limited to physiologically-based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) modeling, agent-based modeling (ABM), and population pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic modeling. Dr. Pressly earned her PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh, where she focused on modeling blood clotting dynamics associated with trauma and obstetric populations.
Dr.Rai is a Basic Science Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Medicine. His research interests are largely directed towards understanding how polyamine (Polycationic small molecules) systems (Genetic, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry) interact during human disease. Polycationic small molecules widely distributed throughout the cell that control every aspect of cell. Dr.Rai is interested in learning how the polyamine components rewired cancer epigenome and more specifically how retrograde components influence development and progression of cancer. Dr.Rai’s research will open new therapeutic avenues that may lead to the formulation of novel treatments for cancers. Dr.Rai earned his Ph.D in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Tezpur University (Central), Assam, India, where he discovered and deposited 16S-rRNA sequence data in GENBANK NCBI database for novel microbes isolated from North-Eastern states of India producing therapeutic grade enzymes(Fibrinolytic and direct-acting thrombolytic) for treatment of myocardial infarction and cardiovascular disease. During his Ph.D research, he was nominated for the Young Scientist award in the New Biology section of the 98th Indian Science Congress Association-2010, SRM Chennai. Dr.Rai received the Senior Research Fellow award from the Council of Scientific and Industrial research (CSIR-SRF) in 2008. At present, Dr.Rai is serving on the editorial board for the Advances in Enzyme Research (AER) journal, and reviewers for Elsevier journals.
Dr. Camila Ribeiro is a plant biotechnologist at the University of Florida Citrus Research Center. Dr. Ribeiro’s research is focused on molecular and biochemical characterization of candidates to engineer citrus plants resistant against Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus, the causative agent of citrus greening between tolerant and susceptible breeding cultivars. Throughout her scientific career, she has developed multiple skills from laboratory to field techniques in different research institutes and projects in plant biotechnology. Since early in her academic training, Dr. Ribeiro has been interested in the use of biotechnological tools to generate products and solutions for major agricultural productivity problems, such as the loss of yield caused by physiological limitations, climate change, and plant diseases. Dr. Ribeiro earned her PhD at the University of Florida in the Department of Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology in the maize genetics program where she engineered heat-stable plastidic versions of 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase, to generate heat-stable maize germplasm for breeders.Learn more about Dr. Ribeiro’s research
Dr. Roach is a Nurse Scientist and a postdoctoral fellow in Community Dentistry and Behavioral Science at the University of Florida in the College of Dentistry. Dr. Roach obtained a BS in psychology from the University of Maryland College Park, ABSN from Loyola University Chicago, MS from DePaul University and her doctorate from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Roach is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Future of Nursing Scholar alum. She received a postdoctoral fellowship with a focus on pain and aging thru the Integrative and Multidisciplinary Pain and Aging Research Training (IMPART), (T32-AG049673, Fillingham PI) and a partnership with the UF Pain Research Intervention Center of Excellence (PRICE) under the mentorship of Drs. Fillingim, Wilkie, and Cruz-Almeida. As part of the T32, her research explores measurement of pain phenotypes, pain related genetics, epigenetics, and mechanism-based pain management, primarily in persons who have sickle cell disease.
Dr. Justin Schon’s work examines how ordinary people respond to violence and environmental change. Dr. Schon earned his PhD in the department of Political Science at Indianan University, Bloomington.
Photo: The "Champs Elysees" street in Jordan's Zaatari camp for Syrian refugeesLearn more about Dr. Schon's Research
Dr. Whit Schroder is an anthropological archaeologist interested in how people and communities respond to socioclimatological crises and how political dynamics are manifested on the political, cultural, and environmental landscape. His current regional focus is on the lowland Maya of southern Mesoamerica, where he has been involved with archaeological projects for the past 8 years. The Maya have experienced diverse periods of trauma associated with political fragmentation and climate change beginning in the second century CE, through the development and collapse of royal dynasties by the tenth century CE, followed by resilience through colonialism beginning in the sixteenth century CE. Dr. Schroder has examined some of these processes in the Upper Usumacinta region of Mexico and Guatemala at the scale of archaeological households and communities that served as mediators between urban/rural and elite/non-elite populations. His current research is landscape-oriented, covering diverse cultural and environmental areas of the Yucatan peninsula, analyzing remote sensing data to interpret the relationship between agrarian intensification and demographic change. Dr. Schroder earned his PhD in Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania.
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Dr. Sen is elucidating the altered cellular dynamics elicited by hyperthermia. Understanding the cross talk between cancer cells exposed to hyperthermia and immune cells will aid in the development of improved cancer immunostimulatory therapeutic strategies and regimens. Dr. Sen earned her PhD in Cancer Nanotherapeutics from the School of Medical Science and Technology at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur, India. She has been awarded the Junior Research Fellowship (2009) and Senior Research Fellowship (2012) by the University Grants Commission. Dr. Sen's journal article entitled “Second generation liposomal cancer therapeutics: transition from laboratory” has been acknowledged as one of the top 25 most downloaded articles published in the International Journal of Pharmaceutics from January-June, 2013.
Patanjali currently works with Dr. Swarup Bhunia in the Warren B. Nelms Institute for the Connected World. His research interests include Internet of Things, Hardware Security, and Computer Architecture. Prior to joining UF as a postdoc, Patanjali received his Ph.D. and Masters from Indian Institute of Technology Madras. His Ph.D. research focussed on Energy Efficient Computing and Hardware Security.Learn more about Patanjali's reserach
Dr. Stephens investigates intestinal absorption and secretion with the goal of understanding how oxalate can be secreted by the intestine to reduce kidney stone risk. She achieves this through measuring the transport of ions and molecules across intestinal tissue in response to various stimuli, using tissue models missing various transport proteins. Dr. Stephens earned her PhD in the College of Life and Environmental Sciences, researching the physiology of calcium carbonate (chalk) production in marine fish intestines and the environmental impact of this important component in the carbon cycle.
Dr. Swain's research involves the design, construction and evaluation of vaccines to elicit protective host immune responses in agriculturally important aquatic animals. He is interested in the study of molecular mechanisms of bacterial, parasite and viral pathogenesis, and host immune responses in aquatic animals in order to develop needle free vaccines. Dr. Swain's primary work is focused on genetic modification of bacterial pathogens, such as E. piscicida and E. ictaluri, as live vaccines to prevent systemic granulomatous disease and enteric septicemia of both freshwater and marine fish. As part of his postdoctoral research in Prof. Roy Curtiss’s lab, Dr. Swain has successfully designed and constructed a recombinant attenuated Edwardsiella vaccine (RAEV) vector system with regulated delayed attenuation and regulated delayed lysis system. RAEV constructs with the regulated delayed lysis in vivo attribute induce maximal mucosal, systemic and cellular immune responses against pathogens whose protective antigens are delivered by the vaccine construct. Dr. Swain is currently constructing RAEV strains for synthesis and delivery of Ichthyophthirius multifiliis (Ich) and Aeromonas hydrophila protective antigens to prevent white spot diseases and aeromoniasis in aquaculture.Learn more about Dr. Swain's Research
Dr. Wang's research focuses on Transgene-free gene editing of Citrus sinensis via CRISPR/Cas9 technology. She earned her Ph.D. in the Department of Microbiology at the China Agricultural University. Dr. Wang has identified and published on two new species of Ensifer, nitrogen-fixing bacteria.
Dr. Xiaoping Xin’s research involves the development, characterization, and evaluation of nanoparticles (NPs) for application in agriculture, which has the potential to increase the use efficiency of agrochemicals by crops and consequently reduce production costs and environmental pollution. Her research interests include soil biochemistry and ecology, soil fertility, nanotoxicology, smart nanotechnology application in sustainable agriculture and environment. Dr. Xin earned her Ph.D. at the University of Florida in the Soil and Water Sciences Department. The results obtained in her thesis highlight the advantages of polymeric NPs over other engineered nanomaterials for applications in agriculture due to minimum side effects on soil health and lowest leaching potential, and indicate the potential of polymeric NPs as nano-delivery systems for fertilizers and pesticides, seed germination enhancers, remedies for metal phytotoxicity. During her graduate study, she has published 14 peer-reviewed papers, including 7 as the leading author. In addition, she has delivered 8 research papers from her thesis research at national and international meetings. She is the recipient of several awards during her study at the UF, including “Doris Lowe and Earl and Verna Lowe Scholarship”, “George J Hochmuth Education Award”, “Margaret M. Davidson travel grant”, and “Graduate School Council travel grant”. She is a member of the Soil Science Society of America and Agronomy Society of America. She also serves as a reviewer for the international peer-reviewed journal of Sediment and Soil Science.Learn more about Dr. Xin's research
Among agronomic crops, perhaps no other has sparked as much passion as industrial hemp (Cannabis Sativa L.). Hemp has been an important crop throughout human history for food, fiber, and medicine. With the legalization of industrial hemp in the United States arriving late in 2018 at the federal level, it appears to be gearing up for a new day in the sun. Many of the previous studies have focused on grain and/or fiber production from industrial hemp. Little information is available in published literature regarding production of cannabidiol (CBD), which is one of the over 100 chemicals produced by hemp and has great medicinal value. For example, in the United States, clinical trials are investigating CBD for treatment of 26 medical conditions. Furthermore, CBD has been granted orphan drug status for eleven conditions. Dr. Yang’s current study focuses on evaluating and developing agronomic practices (e.g., variety trial, fertilization, planting and harvesting management, and pest control) for optimal industrial hemp production in Florida.
During his academic training in Agronomy and Soil Science at Auburn University, Dr. Yang was been connected with multiple projects over a wide span of topics and collaborations from different researchers at many institutions, which has enabled him to be an effective researcher. He is the leading author of multiple peer-reviewed articles published in or submitted to high ranked journals (e.g., Frontiers in Plant Sciences and Journal of Agronomy and Crop Science). Dr. Yang has also drafted a few extension articles for publication based on his previous research projects. He has extensively presented his work at both professional conferences and agricultural extension activities as well.
Photo: Vigorously growing seedlings of industrial hemp in the greenhouse.
Dr. Yang is currently a PostDoctoral Research Associate in the Center of Compressible Multiphase Flow at the University of Florida. He received his Ph.D. degree in Thermal Engineering from the University of Miami (2018). He obtained his Master and Bachelor's degree in Thermal Engineering from Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin, China. His research interests lie in the area of Computational Fluid Dynamics, flow control, aircraft design, and multiphase flow. ranging from theory, to design, and to implementation. He has collaborated actively with researchers in several other disciplines of computer science, particularly high-performance computing and machine learning. His honors include the China National Scholarship for the graduate/undergraduate student – the highest honor bestowed by the Chinese government on outstanding graduate/undergraduate students. He has authored or co-authored more than thirty peer-reviewed papers in top journals and proceedings. He has given technical talks in major conferences AIAA/ASME/SAE, and he has presented research in NASA Ames.Learn more about Dr. Yang's Research
Dr. Yegla is a postdoctoral research associate under the mentorship of Dr. Thomas Foster. Her research is focused on investigating cognitive function in an animal model of aging to determine factors related to resilience and, alternatively, neurodegeneration with rising age. She utilizes a multi-system approach to examine the dynamic shifts in cellular, molecular, and circuit-level components that impact cognition, specifically those dependent upon the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus which exhibit greatest age-related functional decline. Dr. Yegla’s work currently focuses on two main lines of research, one of which examines exercise-induced exosome release as a mediator of exercise’s cognitive benefits, utilizing next-generation sequencing to examine exosomal miRNA content. The second line of research evaluates the heightened inflammatory milieu in the aging brain. By manipulating its response through microglial depletion and endotoxins, Dr. Yegla gains insight into the impact of neuroinflammation in aging on attentional function, as well as spatial and fear memory.
Dr. Yegla earned her Ph.D. in Psychology and Neuroscience at Temple University. Dr. Yegla acquired a P30 grant from the Pepper Center, as well as additional contributions from the Age-Related Memory Loss program at the McKnight Brain Institute, to fund her project examining exosomal mediation of exercise-induced benefits in aging.Learn more about Dr. Yegla's research.
Dr. Zuniga is an experienced scientist involved in the research fields of molecular biology, plant transformation and genome editing (CRISPR). She has been involved in multiple projects related to the genetic modification of different crops. Dr. Zuniga is a proactive, dedicated and a well-organized person who always pays attention to detail. Throughout her career she has developed excellent problem solving, organizational and communication skills required in a wide variety of work situations. Dr. Zuniga has had the opportunity to work with excellent research teams which led her to appreciate the importance of knowledge sharing with fellow colleagues and the scientific community. Dr. Zuniga is always excited to learn new things and she enjoys working in collaborative environments where the potential of several disciplines is exploited towards the achievement of large scale goals.
Dr. Zuniga earned her Ph.D. in the School of Biology and Environmental Sciences at the University College of Dublin. She was awarded best undergraduate research work in the field of Genetics and Biotechnology from the Colombian Association of Biological Sciences.
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