BME students and alumni earn NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

Congratulations to BME’s six outstanding students and alumni who have been selected for the 2022 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP), which recognizes exceptional students who are pursuing full-time research-based master’s and doctoral degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

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

Angel Bu:

Angel Bu graduated from UF in 2021 with a BS in Biomedical Engineering and a minor in Biomechanics. During his time at UF, Angel worked in the Human Neuromuscular Laboratory led by Dr. Daniel Ferris. Now, he is pursuing his Ph.D. at Massachusetts Institute of Technology under Dr. Ritu Raman. His research revolves around the development of novel in vitro neuromuscular systems.





Carlos G. Colon-Ortiz:

Carlos Colon-Ortiz is a fifth-year undergraduate biomedical engineering student with a minor in physics in Dr. Wesley E. Bolch’s Advanced Laboratory for Radiation Dosimetry Studies (ALRADS). His research focuses on developing 3D microscale tissue models to support localized cell-based dose estimates using radiopharmaceuticals with alpha-particle emitters. His passion for radiopharmaceutical therapy research has led him to pursue a Ph.D. in medical physics. Carlos will be starting graduate school here at UF this upcoming Fall.



Suzanne Lightsey:

Suzanne is currently a PhD student in Dr. Blanka Sharma’s lab. Her research focuses on using 3D models to investigate immunosuppressive barriers in solid tumors and develop strategies to improve natural killer cell infiltration into tumors. Suzanne received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia in 2020.






Tran Ngo:

Tran Ngo graduated from the UF Biomedical Engineering program in 2020 with a minor in Health Disparities in Society. At UF, she worked in the laboratory of Dr. Christine Schmidt on the development of 3D bioprinted hydrogel test bed to study cues for nerve regeneration.

Currently, Tran is a postbaccalaureate research fellow at NIH/NIBIB, mentored by Dr. Kaitlyn Sadtler. Tran works on evaluating the immune response to biomaterial scaffolds in trauma muscle injury, using high-dimensional microscopy in collaboration with Dr. Hari Schroff’s team. At the NIH, she also


Aymee Rodriguez:

Aymee is a senior undergraduate biomedical engineering student in Dr. Clayton Mathews’ lab. Her primary research focuses on the genes that beta cells employ to protect from destructive mechanisms by the immune system and understanding beta-cell response to native and viral RNA species to study Type 1 Diabetes.






Nicole Sarna

Nicole graduated from UF in Spring 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering. During her time at UF, she was a researcher in the Rinaldi-Ramos lab, where her work focused on characterizing superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) using the Magnetic Particle Imaging (MPI) system for in vivo cancer immunotherapy applications. Currently, she is a PhD student at Vanderbilt.