Undergraduate Research

Whether you’re conducting research in a group setting or designing your own project with a faculty mentor, undergraduate research is one of the best things you can do to expand your skillset and sharpen your mind outside of the classroom. The number of prestigious research opportunities available to UF-CLAS students is enormous and spans every major and area of interest. Contact beyond120@advising.ufl.edu for help choosing the ideal research experience for you.

There are several paths to conducting and participating in research. You can research with a faculty mentor, research with an organization outside UF, or participate in a UF group research project.

To find potential faculty mentors, you can begin by taking courses in the subject you want to research, attending events with faculty speakers, and reading professors’ published articles. Getting to know a potential mentor personally and familiarizing yourself with their work makes it easier to reach out to them for mentorship, and more likely that they’ll be willing to work with you. You can also search for faculty-supervised research opportunities in the CUR research opportunities.

We encourage you to get involved and explore all the opportunities available.

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UF Scholarships

Labs and Research Groups by Department

African Studies
Anthropology
Astronomy
Biology
Classics
Chemistry
Economics
English
European Studies
Gender, Sexualities, and Women’s Studies
Geography
History
Jewish Studies
Languages, Literatures, and Cultures
Linguistics
Mathematics
Philosophy
Physics
Psychology
Religion
Sociology, Criminology & Law
Spanish and Portuguese Studies
Statistics

Present and Publish

Non-UF Research Opportunities

Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs)

The National Science Foundation sponsors REUs in a wide variety of disciplines. Search for National REU sites by subject.

Research Search Engines

Beyond120 Research Mentorship Award in Humanities

2023 Research Mentorship Award in Humanities

Beyond120 recognizes Dr. Sharon Wright Austin for exceptional mentorship in undergraduate research. Nominated by her student Sophia De La Cruz, Dr. Austin has acted as a model of courage and demonstrated an outstanding commitment to political and social advocacy and supporting student growth through her teaching, research, mentorship.

Dr. Sharon Wright Austin is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Florida. She has published many scholarly articles and three books with research focusing on African-American women’s political behavior, African-American mayoral elections, and rural African-American political activism. Dr. Austin is also a member of the editorial team for the American Political Science Review. Working under the mentorship of Dr. Austin, Sophia has became a Reubin Askew Research Scholar and earned the CLAS Scholars undergraduate research award and the Haskell research award.

“She cares extremely deeply about her students, is willing to go above and beyond to ensure they have access to life-altering enrichment opportunities, and also is respected by academics, scholars and activists across the nation as an expert in her field.” – Sophia De La Cruz


Dr. Sharon Wright Austin


Dr. Sharon Wright Austin and Sophia De La Cruz

2022 Research Mentorship Award in Humanities

Beyond120 recognizes Dr. Jaime Ahlberg for exceptional mentorship in undergraduate research. Nominated by her student Aimee Clesi, Dr. Ahlberg has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to educational justice, inclusivity, and fostering student growth through her teaching, research, and mentorship. Dr. Ahlberg is an Associate Professor in the department of philosophy, specializing in social and political philosophy and ethical theory. Among other research topics, Dr. Ahlberg has published multiple scholarly articles on educational justice and inclusive education and is currently working on a project on schooling and disability with co-author Dr. Catherine Gavin Loss. Working under the mentorship of Dr. Ahlberg, Aimee has earned a Haskell Fellowship, R.M. Hare Undergraduate Essay Prize, Robert Long Essay Prize, university nominations for the Beinecke, Truman, Marshall, and UK Fulbright Open awards, and a Rhodes Scholarship.

“I believe her dedication to philosophy, devotion to her students, and willingness to go the extra mile in everything she does speaks for itself. She is the kind of professor–and the professor–I hope all UF students meet.”

-Aimee Clesi


Dr. Jaime Ahlberg


Aimee Clesi

2021 Research Mentorship Award in Humanities

Congratulations to Dr. Manoucheka Celeste for receiving the Beyond120 Research Mentorship Award in Humanities. At the time of receiving the award, Dr. Celeste held appointments as Associate Professor with the Center for Gender, Sexualities & Women’s Studies Research, Associate Professor with the African American Studies Program, and Affiliate Faculty with the Center for Latin American Studies and the Center for Arts, Migration, and Entrepreneurship. She was nominated by third-year undergraduate student Julianna Panton, a McNair Scholar, CLAS Scholar, and Beyond120 Scholarship recipient. In addition to being an intentional mentor, Dr. Celeste is an award-winning author, educator, and esteemed colleague.

“Dr. Celeste is a great mentor because she is very driven, passionate, approachable, and genuine. Having Dr. Celeste as a mentor has positively impacted my experience at UF because she has introduced me to various research, networking, and personal growth opportunities.”
– Julianna Panton

The CLAS Scholars Program

The CLAS Scholars Program (CSP) gives undergraduate students an opportunity to work one- on-one with a CLAS faculty member on a research project. Scholars can pursue a variety of different types of projects including laboratory-based research, field work, and scholarly activities. Through this program, CLAS Scholars will gain valuable insights into how research is performed and how new knowledge is created. Learn more about CLAS Scholars

CLAS Scholars
Tirza Angerhofer
Tirza Angerhofer
Economics

What is your research about?
“I analyzed Apple’s behavior in its App Store, namely charging a 30% ad valorem tax on all app transactions, as monopolizing behavior. I also discussed the antitrust implications in light of the erroneous Supreme Court analysis in Apple v. Pepper.”

How has research helped prepare you for the future?
“Research has been a very important part of my undergraduate experience. It allowed me to discover and focus a passion of mine which culminated in my desire to pursue graduate school in economics.”

What’s your advice for UF students?
“Passion and curiosity go a long way to opening doors for research and future opportunities.”

Publications
– “Economic Reality at the Core of Apple Antitrust Magazine: Apple’s Mounting App Store Woes.” Antitrust Bulletin.
– “Successive Monopoly, Bilateral Monopoly and Vertical Mergers.” Review of Industrial Organization. (forthcoming)
-“Monopoly and Monopsony: Antitrust Injury, Standing and Damages.” University of Cincinnati Law Review
-“Collusion in the Labor market: Intended and Unintended Consequences.” CPI Antitrust Chronicle.
I have signed a contract to publish a monograph with two coauthors. The book, Antitrust Policy in Health Care Markets, will be published by Cambridge University Press.

Madeline Bickerstaff
Madeline Bickerstaff
Economics

What is your research about?
“I examined the relationship that gun laws and gun ownership rates have with firearm homicide and suicide death rates in the United States. More specifically, using a panel design, I examined the relationship between gun ownership rates and 10 different common gun laws (which varied over time) on homicide and suicide rates from 2000-2010 in the United States. The model used was a multivariate regression model with time fixed effects and several state level factors that were controlled for.”

How has research helped prepare you for the future?
“I learned so much from taking Empirical research my junior year, and then working on this research paper my senior year. I think learning more of the basics of programming (R and Stata), statistics and econometrics was extremely beneficial for me–especially if I do decide to go to grad school in the near future. But for now, I think even the general knowledge that I have will better prepare me as I go into a career in Finance which will be very math heavy and may require me knowing certain statistical programming languages and research basics. And more than anything, I learned more than I ever thought I would about an issue I’ve always been very interested in within my two years of studying gun violence and writing two research papers on it.”

Virtual Symposium Poster: https://cur.aa.ufl.edu/2020/04/14/bickerstaff-madeline/

Julia Bittencourt
Julia Bittencourt
Biology

What is your research about?
“I have been creating a stage series of human embryonic genitourinary development through the use of micro-CT scans. We plan on adding this stage series to GUDMAP.org to provide as an educational resource within the GenitoUrinary Development Molecular Anatomy Project.”

Publications:
“Discovery of small-molecule enzyme activators by activity-based protein profiling.” Nature Chemical Biology.

Hannah Calderazzo
Hannah Calderazzo
English

What is your research about?
“My research focused on understanding the Victorian “unfeminine,” woman through examining the characters of Marian Halcombe from Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White, and Theodora Dudley from Victoria Cross’s Six Chapters of a Man’s Life. I argue that their “unfeminine” physical appearances and heightened intelligence constitute a new type of womanhood, which is shown not only to be distinct, but desirable through the male narrators of their stories.”

How has research helped prepare you for the future?
“As someone who aspires to attend graduate school, this research experience through CLAS Scholars has prepared me both for my senior thesis I intend to write this upcoming year, as well as for eventual graduate-level research. Gathering sources and collaborating with my faculty mentor has given me a new understanding for how to prepare an official research paper, both for an academic journal and for conferences. Without this program, I doubt I would have challenged myself to submit my research project to UF’s Journal of Undergraduate Research, and now I have a basis for my senior thesis.”

What’s your advice for UF students?
“I think it is important to understand that your topic will evolve–you do not have to feel obligated to stick to your initial idea or abstract. The more you research, the more you may discover, and the more your ideas or topic might become more nuanced. I also highly recommend pursuing undergraduate research, especially to those interested in attending graduate school–it challenges your writing, your preparation, and multitasking abilities, allowing you to grow as a scholar. Plus, once you finish, you can take pride in the fact that you have contributed something unique to the academic community and have learned a great deal about a subject that interests you!”

Virtual Symposium Poster: https://cur.aa.ufl.edu/2020/04/14/calderazzo-hannah/

Conference Presentations:
“Unfeminine Legacies from Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White (1860) to Victoria Cross’s Six Chapters of a Man’s Life (1903).” North American Victorian Studies Association Conference. Columbus, Ohio. 2019.
“Unfeminine Legacies from Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White (1860) to Victoria Cross’s Six Chapters of a Man’s Life (1903).” English Undergraduate Research Conference. University of Florida. 2020

Publications
“Understanding the Victorian Unfeminine.” Journal of Undergraduate Research. University of Florida.

Hailey Dansby
Hailey Dansby
English

What is your research about?
“My research project examines the role of insects in literary fiction. I address the question of how insects function in fictional story worlds based on their traits of literary significance.”

How has research helped prepare you for the future?
“This experience gave me an opportunity to study something simply because I found it interesting. My courses in entomology led me to question the role of insects in the cultural imaginary and I used my interest in literature to explore this. This work has strengthened my writing skills and allowed me to produce work I am proud of. It has inspired me to consider more work like this in a graduate program.”

What’s your advice for UF students?
“Pace yourself on your research! Spend time planning and resting. And also learn as much as you can from your peers, they have different insights that can help you on your research journey.”

Jonathan DeStefano
Jonathan DeStefano
Physics

What is your research about?
“Under the advisement of Dr. James Hamlin I have synthesized intermetallic compounds and performed electronic and magnetic characterization on them. Materials that host topologically-protected surface states and simultaneous magnetic ordering are of particular interest to us.”

How has research helped prepare you for the future?
“Undergraduate research has been an essential part of my experience at UF. Besides teaching me hands-on capabilities and advanced topics not covered for a typical undergraduate in my major, research has forced me to develop a much better work ethic and a determination to solve seemingly insurmountable problems. These skills, combined with my passion for research, drive me in my pursuit of a Ph.D. after graduating from UF.”

What’s your advice for UF students?
“I would advise curious undergraduates to get involved with research as soon as possible. The more time you spend doing research, the better you will get at it and the more you will understand whether you should continue doing it. While participating in research often leads to many obstacles, learning how to get through these issues will develop you into a better researcher and a more adept problem solver.”

Publications
“Absence of superconductivity in topological metal ScInAu2.” Physica C: Superconductivity and its Applications.

Awards and Honors
Center for Condensed Matter Sciences Undergraduate Fellow (UF)
UF Outstanding Scholar DOE SULI Program (Ames National Laboratory)

L. Rhodes Evans
L. Rhodes Evans
Political Science

What is your research about?
“My research project was about intersectionality and the election of Bolsonaro. This means I looked at gender and race to see what groups voted for him and postulated what factors may have explained the racial and gender divide.”

How has research helped prepare you for the future?
“I believe I’m going to grad school and this program helped me so much!”

What’s your advice for UF students?
“Take it one day at a time! Good writing comes in revision!”

Emily Kracht
Emily Kracht
African Studies

What is your research about?
“My project focused on the geochemistry and 40Ar/39Ar geochronology of the Late Pleistocene archaeological rockshelter, Mochena Borago, to temporally and spatially constrain the volcanic events between periods of human occupation within the shelter. Specific examinations of this project included stratigraphic correlations to different excavations within the site, preliminary correlations to nonlocal tephras found in the Main Ethiopian Rift, and examination of the composition of Mochena Borago to examine its relationship to the rest of the rift volcanics.”

How has research helped prepare you for the future?
“Research has allowed me to critically analyze the research field I plan to enter in the future as well as my own work. This project taught me how to reach out across subfields, made me a stronger communicator, and allowed me to grow in new and exciting research ventures.”

What’s your advice for UF students?
“Commit to a research project that excites you and interests you. I believe being passionate about the project you are working on makes you a stronger researcher in the long run, and helps you carve your career or academic path post-undergrad.”

Conference Presentations
“40Ar/39Ar Geochronology of Mochena Borago: Refining the Occupational Period of Late Pleistocene Hunter-Gatherers in Mochena Borago Rockshelter, SW Ethiopia.” 2021 Geologic Society of America Southeastern Section Meeting.

Awards and Honors
-Summa Cum Laude honors degree in geology (BA) for thesis written about this project.

Guancen Liu
Guancen Liu
Chemistry

What is your research about?
“My research focuses on the design and synthesis of self-assembling paracyclophanes. In the previous work of our group, [2.2]paracyclophane-4,7,12,15-tetracarboxamide ([2.2]pCpTA) was shown to self-assemble into a one-dimensional supramolecular polymer through intermolecular and transannular amide hydrogen bonding. We expanded on this assembly motif and synthesized a new class of self-assembling paracyclophanes that have unique physical, chemical, and electronic properties.”

Conference Presentations:
Liu, G.; Henderson, W. R.; Fagnani, D. E.; Castellano, R. K. “Chromophore Conjugation to Self-Assembling Paracyclophanes” Poster presentation at the 95th Florida Annual Meeting and Exposition (FAME) of the ACS, Palm Harbor, FL, 2019.

Publications:
Henderson, W. R.; Zhu, Y.; Fagnani, D. E.; Liu, G.; Abboud, K. A.; Castellano, R. K. Self-Assembling [n.n]Paracyclophanes: A Structure-Property Relationship Study. Journal of Organic Chemistry 2020, 85, 1158−1167.

Awards and Honors:
Keaffaber Scholar Award for excellence in research and academic, University of Florida.

Julianna Panton
Julianna Panton
African American Studies

What is your research about?
“This project explores the experiences of people from the Caribbean who returned to the Caribbean after living in the United States full time. I consider these experiences of Black immigrants to better understand the relationship between migration experiences and identity, specifically, self-perception. In-depth interviews of four adults who reverse migrated to Nevis, Jamaica, and the U.S. Virgin Islands reveal that these individuals’ value a sense of belonging and that their decisions were primarily informed by experiences of racism and other forms of discrimination.”

How has research helped prepare you for the future?
“Conducting research as an undergraduate has prepared me for graduate level research. I am now comfortable leading a project, presenting at conferences, and networking with other scholars. This experience has helped shape what I want my experience to be like in graduate school.”

What’s your advice for UF students?
“I encourage future researchers to be confident in their work and believe in themselves. Conducting research isn’t easy, but once you’re working on a project that you’re passionate about it can really impact your life. I also recommend being open with your mentor and asking them any questions you may have along the way.”

Conference Presentations
“Design and synthesis of (d“Where is Home? Investigating Notions of Belonging and Reverse Migration.” Florida Undergraduate Research Conference / Black Doctoral Network Conference.

Awards and Honors
Recipient of the Beyond120 Experiential Scholarship for Research

Alexandra Quintana
Alexandra Quintana
Gender, Sexualities, and Women’s Studies

What is your research about?
“I conducted a literature review on the criminal justice attrition of minor child sexual assault. I analyzed the literature with the goal of developing questions for interviews with police officials, crisis center workers, and other important members in Alachua County that are involved with the prosecution of sexual assault in Alachua County.”

How has research helped prepare you for the future?
“My research has given me an entirely different perspective of my community and the world at large. I now feel an increased obligation to education – which means sharing the information I have learned to foster societal awareness and activism.”

What’s your advice for UF students?
“Make sure to foster your relationship with your research mentor before, during, and after research with good and prompt communication.”

Conference Presentations
“I presented my research to Alachua County’s Victim Services and Rape Crisis Center and at classes in the Women Studies Department. I also partnered with the Rape Crisis Center to create a conference for Sexual Assualt Awareness Month to educate and discuss with the community.”

Nicholas Sheehan
Nicholas Sheehan
Chemistry

What is your research about?
“I investigate the photochemistry of Ruthenium-based precursors for Photoassisted Chemical Vapor Deposition, or PACVD. This involves design, synthesis, and quantum yield determination of various precursors.”

How has research helped prepare you for the future?
“Research has been central to my undergraduate experience in the way I learn, process and practice information in all academic fields in which I participate. The hands-on approach of applying chemistry concepts and the ability to present to professionals has taught me far more about the field than I could learn in classes alone. I was also able to improve my professional etiquette through work with my PI, research mentor and collaborators.”

What’s your advice for UF students?
“Never be afraid to ask questions! Whether it’s a peer, research mentor, PI or professor, they are there to help.”

Conference Presentations
“Design and synthesis of (diene)Ru(CO)3 precursors for photoassisted chemical vapor deposition.” ACS Spring 2021.

Publications
“Photochemistry of (η3-allyl)Ru(CO)3X Precursors for Photoassisted Chemical Vapor Deposition.” Organometallics.

Chance Sturrup
Chance Sturrup
Geological Sciences

What is your research about?
“Acid mine drainage sites on Earth can be used as analogous environments for select environments on Mars. My research involves understanding how organic molecules can be preserved and detected within these samples on Earth using the same techniques found onboard active and future Martian rovers. This can develop a baseline of comparison and help guide future exploration in the search for signs of life on Mars.”

How has research helped prepare you for the future?
“Research has been a fundamental part of my undergraduate experience. My work in the lab has prepared me for the next step in my academic career as a future master’s student, and I feel that my involvement gave me an edge during the application process. During my time as a researcher I also developed numerous skills pertaining to time management and an overall improvement to my work ethic. Finally, my development from a prospective researcher, to a soon-to-be published author has given me a large boost in self-confidence.”

What’s your advice for UF students?
“It is never too early to begin your research. No matter how uncertain or overwhelmed you might feel at first, it never hurts to reach out to prospective research mentors and express and overall desire to learn. You do not need to have multiple years of background to begin working, many of the required skills will be learned over time and the most important thing is to try and start getting hands on experience.”

Conference Presentations
“Organics Detection in Acid Mine Drainage with Implications for Organics Preservation in Iron-rich and Saline Environments on Mars.” Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) / Geologic Society of America (GSA) Annual Meeting.

Publications
“Organics Detection in Acid Mine Drainage with Implications for Organics Preservation in Iron-rich and Saline Environments on Mars.” Astrobiology. (forthcoming)

Katie Teixeira
Katie Teixeira
Astronomy

What is your research about?
“I simulated exoplanet systems around M-dwarf stars observed by the Kepler and TESS missions, and analyzed the impact of dynamical disruption on exoplanet habitability. I found that multi-transiting systems are predicted to have, on average, longer uninterrupted evolutionary timescales than single-transiting systems.”

How has research helped prepare you for the future?
“Research has allowed me to expand on the knowledge I gained from my classes, so I graduate with more expertise in my field. Research has also allowed me to explore the topics I would like to focus on in graduate school. I was admitted into 5 astronomy Ph.D. programs, and I am starting at UT Austin to study exoplanet atmospheres in the fall.”

What’s your advice for UF students?
“My advice is to remember that we all have obstacles and slow-periods during research. Sometimes you’ll complete something quickly, or you may spend weeks thinking about the same problem. Either way, you are still making progress and your work is valuable!”

Conference Presentations
“Evolutionary Timescales On M Dwarf Planets From Dynamical Stability Arguments.” American Astronomical Society 238th Meeting (June 7-9th, 2021).

Publications
“Evolutionary Timescales On M Dwarf Planets From Dynamical Stability Arguments.” The Astrophysical Journal. (Forthcoming)

Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) Science Scholars 2022-2023

The BMS Science Scholars Program was developed in partnership with Bristol-Myers Squibb, one of the world’s leading companies for pharmaceutical research and development. Students in this program receive not only financial support for their faculty-mentored research, but also individualized mentorship, coaching and career advice from BMS scientists and leaders.

BMS Science Scholars
Arnav Barpujari
Arnav Barpujari
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Major Researching in the College of Medicine

Arnav Barpujari is a sophomore pursuing dual degrees in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Economics. As a freshman, he was awarded an Emerging Scholars grant for his self-designed project with the McKnight Brain Institute. His current work is overseen by two faculty of UF’s Neurological Surgery department, one of whom described Arnav as “one of the best young scientists I have seen.” To date, he has contributed to four published, scientific articles and has two first-author publications. His work appears in Archives of Clinical Toxicology, Exploration of Neuroprotective Therapy, Romanian Neurosurgery, and Recent Trends in Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research. He has also presented work at the “3rd International Congress on the Future of Neurology and Neurosurgery” and participated in multiple poster sessions hosted by the University of Florida’s College of Medicine.

His BMS Science research will test axially chiral cannabinoids for controlling headaches in patients suffering from subarachnoid hemorrhaging from aneurysm rupture. The overarching goal of this project, which will utilize mouse models, is to treat severe SAH-related headaches in a way that will address the underlying mechanisms causing these headaches, producing better overall recovery outcomes and less risk of addiction than current opioid-dependent treatment strategies.

“Networking with these individuals in the pharmaceutical industry will help me to better understand the process of medical translation in its entirety. Additionally, tailoring and discussing research to specific audiences is an important skill of any scientist. Successfully fulfilling the responsibilities and developing the skills outlined above will help strengthen my confidence in my future.”

Yu Tin Lin
Yu Tin Lin
Biochemistry and Biology Major Researching in CLAS Dept. of Chemistry

Yu Tin Lin is a junior dual majoring in Biochemistry and Biology with a minor in Statistics. He has been selected for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ highest award for undergraduate research for his ongoing project in the department of Chemistry, where he also works as an undergraduate teaching assistant. His faculty supervisor in the lab has evaluated Yu Tin’s work to be “already at the level of a first-year graduate student.” Yu Tin has presented work at UF’s Undergraduate Symposium and at the Florida Annual Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society.

His BMS Science project seeks to use imaging mass spectrometry to better identify biomarkers of sepsis by providing a spatial dimension lacking in current liquid chromatography mass spectrometry methods that will make it possible to analyze metabolic distributions in heterogenous tissues. The aims of the project are to: “develop analytical imaging mass spectrometry methodologies to enable metabolite detection, (2) explore and validate computational bootstrapping data analysis strategies for reducing slide-to-slide batch effects, and (3) apply this workflow to a murine model of sepsis to understand disease biochemistry and treatment efficacy at the molecular level.”

Yu Tin is also an award-winning performer trained in classical Chinese music, which he regularly performs on a traditional bowed instrument, the erhu, at Shands Hospital as part of a UF Arts in Medicine program.

“Personally, this program would help me establish meaningful connections and nurture the art of networking and scientific communication. It would also be a testament to my passion for research and desire to contribute to the research field for the advancement of knowledge and the benefit of humankind.”

Vivian Nguyen
Vivian Nguyen
Biology Major Researching in CLAS Department of Physics

Vivian Nguyen is a senior Biology major who has been conducting research in the department of Physics since the spring of 2021. According to her research mentor, Vivian has already made novel observations that have changed the view and research focus of her lab. Citing her ability to learn quickly and operate efficiently with minimal instruction in the lab, her faculty supervisor describes her as “one of my best trainees and absolutely the best undergraduate.”

Vivian’s BMS Science project aims at the creation of light-responsive protein materials using optogenetic proteins originally discovered in photosynthesizing plants. Vivian’s team will be generating light-responsive protein hydrogels and seeking to interface these materials with human cells “to achieve light-modulated on-demand cell encapsulation and release.” If successful, the team is hopeful this research could lead to pharmaceutical applications where adaptive materials are needed to interface at the cellular level.

Vivian is also extensively involved in service to the community and the less fortunate, including tutoring children with cognitive impairments, organizing activities for hospitalized children, providing women’s health products to under-resourced girls, and working as a certified nursing assistant for elderly assisted-living residents.

“This scholarship will give me the wonderful opportunity to have an in-depth exposure to cutting-edge biomaterials research for a year. It will also help me to be a critical thinker with new vision to address the pressing challenges in pharmaceutical research.”

Ethan Slaton
Ethan Slaton
Chemical Engineering Major Researching in the College of Engineering

Ethan Slaton is a junior studying Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Ethan has been conducting large-scale gene cloning experiments with the Denard lab since the spring of 2021, during which time he has logged over 1000 total hours of laboratory experience. Ethan also spent a summer researching at Georgia Tech with the Tong lab. His primary faculty research supervisor at UF describes him as “the best undergraduate researcher I have ever had” and evaluates his current proficiency as equivalent to a 2nd year graduate student. His contributions to his research group include writing an efficient code in Python for the lab’s HARP system that reduced their analysis time by more than 80%.

Ethan’s BMS Science project aims to create “a suite of integrative vectors (SIVs) to streamline our high-throughput activity screen for reprogramming proteases (HARP).” Integrative plasmids developed by Ethan will enable the team “to reprogram protease activity on multiple substrates and to find substrate selective protein-based reprogrammers.” The team is hopeful that this work will have applications in therapeutic contexts, where improved selective targeting and altering of human proteases could be a critical breakthrough.

Ethan has also submitted abstracts to meetings of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and has presented work at UF’s Undergraduate Symposium. His awards for undergraduate research include the Emerging Scholars award, University Scholars award, and Fernandez Family Scholars award.

“Having the opportunity to network with researchers in the area I want to work in and the ability to ask them questions will be an invaluable tool as I continue working towards my ultimate goal of working on developing the next generation of therapeutics.”

Ethan Stolen
Ethan Stolen
Physics Major Researching in CLAS Department of Biology

Ethan Stolen is a senior pursuing degrees in Physics, with an emphasis in Medical Physics, and Mathematics. Besides his current research position in the Florida Museum of Natural History, Ethan has also conducted research at the University of Chicago’s department of Radiology and the department of Radiation Oncology at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona. He also completed a research internship in the department of Medical Physics at the University of Florida’s College of Medicine.

His BMS Science project will use both mathematical modeling and empirical analysis in a model organism to investigate the effect of whole-genome duplication on levels and patterns of gene expression noise. His mentors note that this work with gene expression in polyploid plants has connections to mechanisms that play a role in human gene therapy targets and methods. They are hopeful that it can aid the understanding of the possible role of gene expression noise in the growth of polyploid cancers and in certain human tissues which are polyploid.

His faculty supervisors report that not only is Ethan responsible for conceptualizing and designing this project himself, but he has also independently and successfully made contact with other researchers in Cologne, Germany to obtain the required materials for his experiments. His awards for undergraduate research include the Emerging Scholars award, University Scholars award, and the American Association of Physicists in Medicine Undergraduate Fellowship. He has also received grants from the Biology Graduate Student Association at the University of Florida and the Botanical Society of America.

“Participating in the Bristol-Myers Squibb Science Scholars Program would be a great honor and one of my highest achievements as an undergraduate researcher. This opportunity will help me further my professional development and career as a scientist.”