Summer Lunch Celebration and Farewell to Jorge and UGs

August 2, 2022

We celebrated all of our research successes for the summer with a lunch at Chuy’s, one of favorite dining spots!
We also bid farewell to several Schmidt Lab members, including postdoc Dr. Jorge Mojica-Santiago, who is starting a job at 3D Systems in Houston, TX. Eleana presented a traditional roast for Jorge – fun!

Others departing the lab include Sarah Danis, who will be joining a start-up company in Israel, Adonis Lysandrou, who will be transferring to GaTech, and our SURF student, Sue Chong. Our BME UG Summer Research intern, Olivia Osborne, will be continuing research with us in the fall!

Congratulations team!

Graduation and farewell lunch for Dr. Mary Kasper

April 28/May 5, 2022


Spring UG Presentations & Farewell to Graduating Seniors

April 21, 2022

In typical tradition, we enjoyed our Spring 2022 end-of-the-semester UG presentations (in person!). As usual, terrific job by our UG researchers. Always our favorite part of the semester!

UG Presenters:

  • Ashley Evering (BME)​, “Exploring the mechanical properties of polyethylene glycol and glycidyl methacrylate hyaluronic acid in developing in vitro spinal cord injury testbeds”; Mentor: Eleana Manousiouthakis
  • Sarah Danis (MSE)​, “Printability study of conductive hyaluronic acid and carbon nanotube composite hydrogels”; Mentor: Eleana​ Manousiouthakis​
  • Emily Pallack (Microbiology & Cell Sciences)​, “Differential expression of transcripts in spinal cord injury following oxygen therapy for development of biomimetic hydrogel construct”; Mentor: Eleana​ Manousiouthakis​
  • Steven Robles Blasini (BME)​, “Modulating hydrogel scaffolding materials for an in-vitro muscle-on-a-chip model”; Mentor: Jorge Mojica​ Santiago
  • Shruti Kolli (Public Health)​, “Characterizing electrical properties of a skeletal muscle microphysiological system to assess contractile differences in adult cells”; Mentor: Jorge Mojica​ Santiago
  • Bret Ellenbogen​ (Chemistry), “Evaluating Gene Expression of Protein Classes After Peripheral Nerve Injury”; Mentor: Mary Kasper​
  • Yuan (Kevin)​ Li (BME), “In-vitro Screening of Various Tissue Engineering Approaches to Achieve Better Neural Regeneration Outcomes”; Mentor: Mary Kasper​
  • Abdullah Afridi (Chemistry)​, “Physical and Biochemical Characterization of GMHA-Fibrinogen Conjugates”; Mentor: Mary Kasper​

And, kudos to our graduating seniors!!

Ashley Evering ➔ Edwards LifeSciences in San Diego

Sarah Danis​ ➔ Bioprinting startup company in Israel

Bret Ellenbogen ➔ Data Science Master’s Program at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor

Yuan (Kevin)​ Li ➔ BME PhD program at University North Carolina Chapel Hill and NC State University

Abdullah Afridi​ ➔ Gap year as medical assistant in vascular surgery in Daytona Beach, then medical school

Ashley Evering places 3rd Place at NSBE Conference

April 6, 2022

Congratulations to Ashley Evering, who placed third in the Oral Presentations for the Technical Research Exhibition at National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) 48th Annual Convention in Anaheim, California.

Here is the information on Ashley’s presentation:

Everying, A.[speaker], E. Manousiouthakis, V. Subramaniam, A. Campbell, S. Danis*, E. Pallack*, T. Angelini, C.E. Schmidt, “Exploring the mechanical properties of polyethylene glycol and glycidyl methacrylate hyaluronic acid in developing in vitro spinal cord injury testbeds”, 48th Annual National Conference for the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Anaheim, CA, March 25, 2022.

UG Alumnus Tran Ngo receives NSF Graduate Research Fellowship (GRFP)

April 1, 2022

Congratulations to Schmidt Lab UG alumnus, Tran Ngo, who received an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship!

“The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) helps ensure the vitality of the human resource base of science and engineering in the United States and reinforces its diversity. The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited United States institutions. As the oldest graduate fellowship of its kind, the GRFP has a long history of selecting recipients who achieve high levels of success in their future academic and professional careers. The reputation of the GRFP follows recipients and often helps them become life-long leaders that contribute significantly to both scientific innovation and teaching. Past fellows include numerous Nobel Prize winners, former U.S. Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, Google founder, Sergey Brin and Freakonomics co-author, Steven Levitt.”

Tran was a BME UG working in the Schmidt Lab and is currently a Postbaccalaureate Fellow at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).Tran will be entering the MD/PhD program at the University of Florida in Fall 2022. Becoming a physician-scientist has always been her goal – she is excited to return to UF and contribute to UF BME research!



Emily Pallack receives prestigious Goldwater Scholarship

March 25, 2022

Congratulations to UG Emily Pallack for receiving a prestigious Goldwater Scholarship for her academic achievements!

“The scholarship, which was created in 1986 in honor of the late Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater, is considered one of the most prestigious scholarships available to undergraduate students studying natural science, engineering, or mathematics.”

Congrats to Dr. Kasper – New PhD!

March 24, 2022

Congratulations to Mary Kasper on successfully defending her PhD! She did a phenomenal job. Her research was on “Engineering Bioactive Hyaluronan-Based Hydrogel Scaffolds for Peripheral Nerve Applications”, a collaboration in partnership with Drs. Jack Judy, Kevin Otto and Carlos Rinaldi-Ramos.

Kudos to her committee members Drs. Kevin Otto, Carlos Rinaldi-Ramos, and Rick Johnson!

Dr. Kasper will be joining Aqua Cultured Foods in Chicago, IL, where she will be working on helping to culture/engineer sustainable seafood products!

Congrats to Eleana on Postdoc Fellowship!

March 3, 2022

Congrats to Dr. Eleana Manousiouthakis for being awarded a Breathing Research and Therapeutics (BREATHE) postdoctoral fellowship funded through the McKnight Brain Institute (MBI).

Welcome to the lab, Gopal!

February 18, 2022

The Schmidt Lab is excited to welcome our newest postdoc, Dr. Gopal Agarwal, to the team. We celebrated his arrival with a lab lunch at Bahama Breeze. It was great to see everyone in person again.

Dr. Agrawal recently received his PhD in Biotechnology from the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research in Ahmedabad, India. His thesis was entitled: “Cell guided and Immuno-modulatory nerve conduit for the repair and regeneration of spinal cord”. The main aim of his research project was to fabricate a supermacroporous hydrogels that can promote axonal regeneration and support cellular therapy at the injured site. He developed biomimetic-scaffolds based of collagen type I and characterized its features in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo suitable for spinal cord injury.

Here at UF, Gopal will be pursuing research to evaluate natural-based injectable hydrogel biomaterials for SCI applications.

Welcome to the Schmidt Lab Gopal!


Fall UG Presentations

December 10, 2021

In typical tradition, we enjoyed our Fall 2021 end-of-the-semester UG presentations. As usual, terrific job by our UG researchers. Always our favorite part of the semester!

UG Presenters:

Ashley Evering​, “Fluorescent Conjugation of GMHA and Design Considerations for Hydrogel Molding in Gut Model”, Mentor: Eleana​ Manousiouthakis​

Sarah Danis​, “Polymer Network Analysis of Carbon Nanotube Glycidyl Methacrylate Hyaluronic Acid Hydrogels“, Mentor: Eleana​ Manousiouthakis​

Emily Pallack​, “Mechanical properties of multiwalled carbon nanotube hyaluronic acid hydrogels”, Mentor: Eleana​ Manousiouthakis​

Steven Robles​, “Development of Muscle Bundles with Human Skeletal Muscle cells seeded in dECM:Col hydrogel blends”, Mentor: Jorge Mojica​

Shruti Kolli​, “Development of Tissue Composition Assessment & Imaging Methods for Engineered Skeletal Muscle Tissue Scaffolds”​, Mentor: Jorge Mojica​

Bret Ellenbogen​, “Quantifying gene expression of hyaluronidases in peripheral nerve in vivo”, Mentor: Mary Kasper​

Yuan (Kevin)​ Li, “Fluorescent Analysis of Hyaluronidases in vivo and Viability of GMHA-fibrinogen in vitro”, Mentor: Mary Kasper​

Abdullah Afridi​, “Microstructural, Spectroscopic, and Enzymatic Characterization of GMHA-Fibrinogen”​, Mentor: Mary Kasper​