Student Spotlight: Leyda S. Marrero-Morales

Leyda S. Marrero-Morales

Lab: Dr. Carlos Rinaldi-Ramos Lab

Hometown: Aguadilla, Puerto Rico

Research focus: Magnetic nanoparticles have a variety of biomedical applications and we can visualize them with Magnetic Particle Imaging (MPI). I’ve been working on simulating cancer experiments on a 3D-printed mouse to progress towards more ethical in vivo MPI research in our lab by reducing the amount of animals required for these studies.

Fun fact: I grew up loving a variety of watersports, like wakeboarding, skiing, and surfing. I won 5th place out of 32 in a surf contest once!

What motivates you? Knowing that my efforts are contributing to something greater than myself. Whether that be through research in the field of nanomedicine, volunteering in the hospital with patients, working in a clinic to care for the underserved, or creating engineering solutions to healthcare challenges, I believe in the impact I am making in my community just by doing my best.

What attracted you to UF BME? The challenge and the amazing leadership! I’ve always wanted to become an engineer, but my desire to contribute to the field of medicine and become a member of the healthcare field had me at a crossroads. So why not both? Especially for UF BME, the amount of powerful women leading the department made me feel included and inspired. I challenged myself to one day to be like them.

What I love about Gainesville: The spirit and the people. There are few places that have such a vibrant love for their university like we do in the Gator Nation! This makes me so proud to have spent such an influential part of my life here. I’ve also had the opportunity to interact with our community beyond UF, and there are so many wonderful people from diverse backgrounds.

Motivational Quote: Be sure you’re recognizing your accomplishments, no matter how small or large! You deserve to celebrate your successes and strive for new ones, but take one day at a time and enjoy the hard-earned present as much as you look forward to the bright future.

Honors and Awards:

  • Dean’s List since Fall 2017
  • Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE)
  • National Scholar, 2019
  • University Scholars Program (USP) Research Grant Recipient, 2019
  • Short-talk Competition First Place Winner at the 2021 LatinX in BME Research Symposium
  • Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award, Honors Thesis Defense at BME’s Undergraduate Research Day, 2021
  • Care Provider Recognition Award in 2021 for service at the Mobile Outreach Clinic