People

Principal Investigator

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Luis R. Martinez, Ph.D., MBA

Luis was born and raised in Ponce, PR and lived close to 20 years in New York City. He earned his B.S. in Industrial Microbiology from the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez, his M.S. in Microbiology from Long Island University, Brooklyn, NY, and his Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY.

Post-doctoral scholars

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Mohamed Fawzy Hamed Shehata, Ph.D.

Mohamed earned his B.S. in Veterinary Medical Science from Mansoura University in Egypt. He also obtained his M.S. and Ph.D. in Pathology from Mansoura University. Then, he pursued postdoctoral trainings in the Department of Neuropharmacology in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Granada in Spain, the Department of Biology at the University of York in the United Kingdom, and the Department of Medicinal Chemistry in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Florida, USA.

Graduate students

Dental students

Mark Fischer

Mark Fischer

I was born and raised on the coast of North Carolina. I recently graduated from Liberty University in May of 2021 with a degree in Biomedicals Sciences and Public Health, and am a current dental student at the University of Florida. I have previously conducted research on the microbiome of crayfish, in addition to a study that examined how bone remodeled in the maxilla in response to the retraction of the central incisors. Some of my favorite hobbies include fishing, golfing, and playing board games!

Undergraduate students

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Christopher Alvarado

Christopher was born and raised in Naples, Florida and is currently at the University of Florida pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Microbiology & Cell Sciences with a minor in Anthropology. After completing his undergraduate degree, he hopes to either attend medical school and become a physician or pursue a PhD in Microbiology. 

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Brian Delgado

Brian was born in West Palm Beach, Florida and raised in Coral Springs, Florida. He is a third-year student pursuing a degree in Biochemistry with a minor in Health Disparities in Society at the University of Florida. After earning his bachelor’s degree, he plans on attending medical school for a career in Cardiology. 

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Danielle Elliott

Danielle was born in Silvis, Illinois and later, raised in Port Saint Lucie, Florida. She is currently studying Biology at the University of Florida and is an employee at UF Health Heart, Vascular and Neuromedicine Hospital. After completing her undergraduate degree she hopes to attend medical school and eventually train to become a hematologist. 

Sebastian Guerra

Sebastian Guerra

Sebastian was born and raised in Miami, Florida and is currently a Microbiology and Cell Science major with a Material Science minor at the University of Florida. After attaining his Bachelor’s degree, he hopes to continue his academic career at a graduate program in a biology-related field.

Melissa Munzen

Melissa Munzen

Melissa was born in New York and was raised in the Midwest. She is working on a bachelor’s degree in Music for Piano Performance, as well as a B.S. in Microbiology and Cell Science. After graduating, she plans on attending dental school to pursue a career in dentistry. 

Jordan Rodriguez

Jordan Rodriguez

Jordan was born and raised in Miami, Florida and later, moved to Port Saint Lucie, Florida for one year. During his time in Port Saint Lucie, he became certified as an EMT. He is now part of the NIH SF2UF: A new Bridges to the Baccalaureate program (5R25GM115298-05) at Santa Fe College, and hopes to transfer to the University of Florida. After attaining his Bachelor’s degree in Applied Physiology and Kinesiology he plans to attend medical school for a career in Emergency Medicine. 

Nalani Starcher_Original

Nalani Starcher

Nalani was born and raised in South Florida and is currently at the University of Florida pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Nutritional Science with a minor in Public Health. After completing her undergraduate career, she intends on going to dental school and becoming a general dentist in South Florida.  

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