Ph.D. Spotlight: Mary Kasper

Name: Mary Kasper, Ph.D.

Lab: Schmidt Lab (Biomimetic Materials and Neural Engineering)

Hometown: Cary, North Carolina

Research focus: My research focuses on creating biomimetic hyaluronan-based scaffolds for peripheral nerve applications. I focus on understanding the native microenvironment of neural tissue and applying our knowledge to tissue-engineered constructs that include physical, biochemical, and enzymatic cues that are necessary for robust neural growth.

Fun fact: Despite my extreme fear of deep water and inability to swim, I dove the Great Barrier Reef.

What motivates you?: Overall, what motivates me is making a global impact, including decisions I make in my personal life, such as buying more sustainable products, or through the work I do in the lab to create materials that can help people. During my day-to-day, what motivates me are my colleagues and team mates who inspire me and help to celebrate the little wins and losses.

What attracted you to UF BME?: I was attracted to UF BME, not only because of the ground-breaking and diverse research within the department, but also because it was very apparent when I visited the department that there was a supportive and inclusive community of students and faculty. In addition, UF BME is housed at the intersection of top-ranked colleges of engineering, medicine, and veterinary medicine which provide ample resources to fuel our research.

What I love about Gainesville: I love the local food and arts community in Gainesville! There are always fun events hosted by local restaurants and businesses in the area, like vintage thrift markets and local food pop-ups. My favorite event is Sunday yoga at First Magnitude Brewery!

Motivational Quote: “A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.” -Lao Tzu