Current Students

About Our Students

The University of South Florida is a globally minded institution, and the PhD Program in Integrated Biomedical Sciences is representative of the university’s commitment to consistently enrolling highly qualified and motivated students from diverse backgrounds.

Icon - 74 students enrolled

Icon - representing 16 different countries and 12 states

Demographics as of Fall 2018

phd faculty, staff, and students at ABRCMS

Students, faculty, and staff from the PhD program attended the Annual Biomedical
Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) in Indianapolis, IN. (November 2018)

Want to connect with one of our students directly? 

Scroll down for the contact information of our student organization board members.

Association of Medical Sciences Graduate Students (AMSGS)

logo of the association of medical science graduate students

Mission Statement:

“The purpose of the Association of Medical Sciences Graduate Students shall be to provide a means whereby graduate students can enhance their academic and social interests, as well as make a significant contribution to the University of South Florida.”

AMSGS is a fully student-run organization for students in the Graduate Programs in Integrated Biomedical Sciences (PhD and Masters). In addition to assisting with recruitment visits and new student orientation, AMSGS hosts social, academic, and professional development events throughout the year.

Follow @AMSGS on Facebook to learn about recent and upcoming events!

AMSGS Board Members 2018-2019

President: Austin Nenninger

Contact Me

headshot for Nicholas Johnson
Secretary: Nick Johnson
Molecular Pharmacology & Physiology

headshot of Caroline Simmons
Events Chair: Caroline Simmons
Allergy, Immunology, & Infectious Disease
Contact Me

headshot of Sandy Hornung

Recruitment Chair:
Sandy Hornung
Allergy, Immunology, & Infectious Disease
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headshot of Mariana Burgos Angulo

Vice President:
Mariana Burgos Angulo

Cardiovascular Biology

headshot of Udoka Okaro
Treasurer: Udoka Okaro
Allergy, Immunology, & Infectious Disease 

headshot of Meena Subbarayan

Co-Events Chair: Meena Subbarayan

headshot of Roukiah Khalil

Social Media Chair: Roukiah Khalil
Molecular Medicine

Current Student Profiles

Learn more about some of our current students, their research, what they like to do for fun, and what advice they have for prospective students. 

Beneath each student's name, you'll find the year they entered the PhD Program, where they are from, and their concentration. Check back often, as we'll be featuring new students regularly. 

Taylor Martinez

2017 ~ Albuquerque, NM ~ Neuroscience

headshot of Taylor Martinez

Academic background: University of Miami, Bachelor’s Degree in Neuroscience   

What is your research about?
I'm currently working on an organ-on-a-chip Blood Brain Barrier, and it involves collaboration between my knowledge as a neuroscientist, and my lab partner whose degree is in engineering. 

What advice would you give a prospective Ph.D. student?

Be prepared for working long, and odd hours. The classes are not hard if you attend every session and focus. Communication between you and your PI will be your most crucial determinant of success in the program. You will need to be forthright in everything that you do, because problems will arise in your project and they can only know as much as you tell them.

Zeinab Motawe

2016 ~ Egypt ~ Cardiovascular Biology

headshot of Zeinab Motawe

Academic background: Faculty of Medicine, Tanta University, Bachelor’s Degree in Medicine   

What is your research about?

We are trying to explore novel therapeutic targets to treat stroke. Specifically, I am working on discovering neuroprotective and vasculoprotective agents that act by sigma receptor agonism on brain endothelium. Sigma agonists are being explored as vasodilators and endothelial barrier protectors that will be promising to stroke patients.   

What do you like to do for fun?
I like to go out to one of the nice nearby beaches!

John Lockhart

2014 ~ Tampa, FL ~ Molecular Pharmacology & Physiology

photo of John Lockhart on a boat

Academic background: University of South Florida, Bachelor’s Degree in Biology (Ecology focus)   

What is your research about?
My research focus is discerning the role of the RNA modifications (the epitranscriptome) in the regulation of mRNA by microRNA. I am also working on developing and refining the use of a peptide-based nanoparticle to deliver therapeutic mRNA.   

What do you like to do for fun?
Play board games.

Caroline Simmons

2017 ~ The Bahamas ~ Allergy, Immunology, & Infectious Disease

headshot of Caroline Simmons

Academic background:
University of South Florida, Bachelor’s Degree in Microbiology   

What is your research about?
I conduct research on Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite that causes the most deadly form of malaria. I am utilizing mutants of the parasite to elucidate the mechanism of action of the most widely used antimalarial in the field.   

What advice would you give a prospective Ph.D. student?
Make sure to talk and ask as many questions as you can to others in your program and professors. By interacting and asking questions, you will be able to learn much more about yourself and the program.

Updated: August 2018