"I applied to the Scholars Program for the opportunity to do meaningful research, guided by motivated faculty and colleagues who value the field of science, particularly as it applies to medicine. With their help, I plan to increase my experience with cell culture, fluorescent microscopy, laboratory procedure,and Tissue Engineering in general."
My primary goal is to enrich my lab training with my studies in Chemical Engineering, and vice versa, with the aim of making the most out of my academic journey at the University of Florida. My work ethic is driven by a desire to be a part of the development, implementation, and study of neural and cardiovascular artificial organs, including the socioeconomic ramifications of using this them regularly in the medical field.
Academic and Other Awards
- University Scholars Program Scholarship (2011-2012)
- Gates Millennium Scholarship (2008)
- Florida Opportunity Scholarship (2008)
- Florida Bright Futures (2008)
- Coach's Award High School Diving Team
- Association of Cuban Student Engineers
Research Assistant Biomedical Engineering Department.
Hobbies and Interests
- Rock climbing, running, mountain biking, and drawing.
Transfection of an Endothelial Cell Line for Characterization of Leukocyte Interactions on Decellularized Vascular Surfaces
Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States, affecting over 13 million Americans and killing 1 in every 4. Among the many endeavors of Cardiovascular tissue engineering is the application of engineering principles to ameliorate limitations of current clinical strategies in vascular surgery. Studies of the pathological changes leading to failure of current bypass grafts are inspiring a new wave of strategies to prolong their patency rates and therefore improve patient survival. An essential component in tissue engineered vascular grafts is a functional endothelium, which provides a non-thrombogenic lumenal surface. Current research aims to develop a confluent endothelial cell (EC) monolayer on vascular grafts with a quiescent phenotype in order to minimize the clotting of grafts upon implantation. After working in Dr. McFetridge’s tissue engineering lab for two consecutive semesters, I can better appreciate the importance of (EC) research, and I marvel at the opportunity to conduct an independent project with the aim of filling in intermediary steps within the larger scope of the studies already in play. Particularly, my goal is to provide further insight on endothelial cell behavior within a Human Umbilical Vein (HUV) basement membrane. This is a thick acellular scaffold which will be used in place of the traditional, less physiologically compatible, in vitro methods. To do so, I will focus on three objectives: the identification of transfection sites within (EC) DNA, the pursuit of a protein that achieves the necessary contrast for proper target identification, and the study of interactions between leukocytes, (EC), and platelets within a custom-made flow chamber.