2017 Alumni

Nine students completed the pilot year of the SPARK Research Mentorship Program. Two of those students were also selected for SPARK in 2018. Meet the 2017 alumni and learn more about their achievements during their SPARK term.

  • SPARK Research Mentorship Program scholar Devanik Biswas

    Devanik Biswas

    Term: 2017 (senior)

    School: Stanton College Preparatory School

    Research: Devanik's blood-brain barrier research in the Translational Neuropathology Laboratory of Melissa E. Murray, Ph.D., earned first place in the biochemistry category at the Northeast Florida Regional Science and Engineering Fair and a third place grand award in the biomedical and health sciences category at the International Science and Engineering Fair in 2018. Devanik went on to major in neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University.

  • SPARK Research Mentorship Program scholar Yara Chehade

    Yara Chehade

    Term: 2017 (senior)

    School: Allen D. Nease High School

    Research: Yara's ovarian cancer research with John A. Copland III, Ph.D., in the Cancer Biology and Translational Research Laboratory earned an honorable mention in the cellular and molecular biology category at the State Science and Engineering Fair of Florida and an opportunity to compete at the International Science and Engineering Fair in 2018. Yara went on to major in STEM studies at the University of Florida.

  • SPARK Research Mentorship Program scholar Emma Kee

    Emma Kee

    Term: 2017 (senior)

    School: Ponte Vedra High School

    Research: Emma's traumatic brain injury research in the Neurobiology of Parkinson's Disease Laboratory of Pamela J. McLean, Ph.D., earned second place at the Northeast Florida Regional Science and Engineering Fair and recognition at the State Science and Engineering Fair of Florida in 2018. Emma went on to study biology at Wake Forest University.

  • SPARK Research Mentorship Program scholar Tim Kellett

    Timothy (Tim) Kellett

    Term: 2017 (senior)

    School: Ponte Vedra High School

    Research: Tim's research with Aneel Paulus, M.D., M.S., on Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia earned second place at the Northeast Florida Regional Science and Engineering Fair and at the State Science and Engineering Fair of Florida in 2018. Tim went on to study biochemistry at Florida State University and to join Mayo Clinic as an employee.

  • SPARK Research Mentorship Program scholar Courtney Krider

    Courtney Krider

    Term: 2017 (junior), 2018 (senior)

    School: Ponte Vedra High School

    Research: Courtney's research with Debabrata (Dev) Mukhopadhyay, Ph.D., on non-small cell lung cancer cells earned third place at the Northeast Florida Regional Science and Engineering Fair and recognition at the State Science and Engineering Fair of Florida in 2018. Courtney was also awarded third place in the Florida Regional Junior Science, Engineering, and Humanities Symposium. During her second year in SPARK, she worked with Abba C. Zubair, M.D., Ph.D. Courtney went on to study biomedical sciences and astronomy at the University of Central Florida.

  • SPARK Research Mentorship Program scholar Louis Otero

    Louis Otero

    Term: 2017 (senior)

    School: Ponte Vedra High School

    Research: In his research with Keith L. Knutson, Ph.D., Louis focused on HER2-positive breast cancer, earning third place at the Northeast Florida Regional Science and Engineering Fair and second place at the State Science and Engineering Fair of Florida in 2018. Louis went on to study microbiology at the University of South Florida.

  • SPARK Research Mentorship Program scholar Jonathan Perera

    Jonathan Perera

    Term: 2017 (senior)

    School: Stanton College Preparatory School

    Research: Working with Rachel Sarabia Estrada, D.V.M., Ph.D., Jonathan examined migratory interactions among microglia, mesenchymal stem cells and brain tumor-initiating cells in vitro. He presented his work at the annual research presentation event for SPARK students and at the Mayo Clinic SPARK Mini Science Fair. He went on to study biomedical engineering at Duke University.

  • SPARK Research Mentorship Program scholar Kavitha Vudatha

    Kavitha Vudatha

    Term: 2017 (junior), 2018 (senior)

    School: Stanton College Preparatory School

    Research: Kavitha's pancreatic cancer research alongside Baoan Ji, M.D., Ph.D. earned first place at the Northeast Florida Regional Science and Engineering Fair, a special award from the University of Florida College of Medicine, and second place at the State Science and Engineering Fair of Florida in 2018. During her second term in SPARK in 2018, Kavitha continued her research with Dr. Ji using a CRISPR-Cas9 method to knock out Aurora kinase A gene expression in pancreatic cancer cells. She planned to study computer science and premedicine at the University of Florida.

  • SPARK Research Mentorship Program scholar Darren Wang

    Darren Wang

    Term: 2017 (senior)

    School: The Bolles School

    Research: In the Neurogenesis and Brain Tumors Laboratory of Hugo Guerrero Cazares, M.D., Ph.D., Darren investigated glioblastoma cell proliferation and migration. He presented his work at the annual research presentation event for SPARK students and at the Mayo Clinic SPARK Mini Science Fair. He went on to study biomedical engineering at the University of Florida.