Mentor: Dr. Christine Schmidt
College of Engineering
"I got involved in research so that I could start learning critically and apply myself in a more hands-on setting. I want to make an impact on the biomedical field whilst also benefiting mankind."
- Neural Engineering
- Regenerative Medicine
- 2013/Florida Bright Futures
- 2014/Dean's List
- 2015/College of Engineering Scholarship
- 2015/University Scholars Award
- Clinical Volunteering at Bay Pines VA Medical Center
- Florida Science Bowl
- Project Downtown Gainesville
Hobbies and Interests
- Super Smash Bros
Development of a Proteoglycan Rich Matrix for Nucleus Pulposus Regeneration
Low back pain affects up to 80% of the population sometime in their lifetime. The intervertebral disc (IVD) functions as a part of the spine to withstand high amounts of compressive loading. Disc degeneration is the leading cause of low back pain and is characterized by a loss of the disc height and ability to bear compressive loading. The loss of disc height is due to the fragmentation of the IVD’s gelatinous core (nucleus pulposus) as well as loss of aggrecan. Aggrecan is a chondroitin-sulfate proteoglycan (CSPG) that enables the disc to withstand the high compressive loads. Therefore, maintaining the levels of CSPG’s in the disc could significantly improve the prognosis of low back pain by preventing loss of disc height. As such, we propose to create a CSPG-rich matrix to regenerate the nucleus pulposus that is immunologically tolerated by employing a gentle de-cellularization protocol on porcine nucleus pulposus that can substantially remove cells, DNA, and antigens, but also maintain a significant level of CSPG’s.