Five BME students awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowships; four awarded Honorable Mentions

Congratulations to BME’s five outstanding students who were just awarded with a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship! These fellowships recognize and support exceptional graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited US institutions.

We are so proud of our students being honored with this prestigious award!

L. Savannah Dewberry is a second-year biomedical engineering student in Dr. Kevin Otto’s lab. Her primary research focus is on the use of bio-electric medicine to modulate peripheral pain through kilohertz electrical stimulation and vagus nerve stimulation.



Michele Dill received her bachelor’s degree from UF BME in December. During her time as an undergraduate student, she worked in Dr. Christopher Batich’s lab and her primary research focus was the phosphate chelation capacity of chitosan and its potential application for oral phosphate binding in patients with chronic kidney disease. In January, Michele transitioned into the Ph.D. program and began working in Dr. Chelsey Simmons’ lab. Her new research focus is fibroblast mechanobiology in the context of the African Spiny Mouse, a unique model of mammalian regeneration.

Natalia Fabela
is a first-year biomedical engineering Ph.D. student in Dr. Benjamin Keselowsky’s and Dr. Gregory Hudalla’s laboratories. Her research develops co-assembled peptide-based gels for the immobilization of immunomodulatory proteins. Natalia obtained a B.S. in biomedical engineering from Texas A&M University specializing in Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering.


Jacob Griffith is an incoming Ph.D. student from Wichita State whose primary research focus was on the design and development of wearable sensors to monitor changes in multiple physiological parameters including blood flow, intracranial pressure, and cardiac output.



Kalyn Kearney is a first-year biomedical engineering Ph.D. student working with Dr. Jennifer Nichols in the Musculoskeletal Biomechanics Lab. Her current research seeks to leverage machine learning to evaluate thumb biomechanics. The developed machine learning framework will then be applied to more complex biomechanical systems. This approach could potentially be used to diagnose pathology or direct treatment, thereby informing data-driven medical care.


The NSF accords Honorable Mention to meritorious applicants who do not receive Fellowship awards. BME students, Robert Accolla, Bethsymarie Soto Morales, Amanda Studnicki and Taylor Yeater, received Honorable Mentions. This is considered a significant national academic achievement.

BME graduate student Robert Accolla, in Dr. Cherie Stabler’s lab, is focused on the fabrication of biomaterial platforms for drug delivery in the field of Type 1 Diabetes treatment.




BME graduate student Bethsymarie Soto Morales, in Dr. Gregory Hudalla’s lab, develops biomaterials fabricated from co-assembling peptides for local delivery of immunomodulatory enzymes.




Amanda Studnicki, a BME student in Dr. Daniel Ferris’ Human Neuromechanics Lab, works with mobile electroencephalography (EEG) to study brain activity in real-world settings.




Taylor Yeater is a Ph.D. candidate in Dr. Allen’s lab focused on studying peripheral nervous system changes in osteoarthritis.