Meet the Executive Board

Our organization is divided into committees which specialize in each of our initiatives and are run by the Executive Board. Learn more about our committee leaders below.

Executive Director

Alexis Brake

Hi! My name is Alexis Brake and I am a fourth year Biomedical Engineering major specializing in Neural Engineering and plan to become a physician-scientist following graduation. I am super passionate about making undergraduate research accessible to all students and am very excited to be serving as the Executive Director of CURBS for the 2019-2020 school year. Getting involved in research has been the highlight of my undergraduate experience so far and I am looking forward to helping other students find their research passions through CURBS! A two-time University Scholar, I’ve studied neuroprosthetic device design and foreign body response mitigation in Dr. Kevin Otto’s Neuroprostheses Research Lab for the past three years. The foreign body response significantly impairs device performance and my research aims to lessen this response in order to improve device longevity, an integral feature of chronic implants such as brain-machine interfaces.

Rylea Trudeau

Director of Memberships

Hello! My name is Rylea Trudeau and I am so excited to be serving as the Director of Membership for CURBS this year. I am a third year Biology major on the pre-med track and am also pursuing a minor in Disabilities in Society. When I came to college at UF, I knew that I wanted to get involved with research right away – since spring of freshman year, I have been lucky enough to serve as a research assistant in the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, where our research focuses on the identifying psychological impacts on the disease state and management of children with type 1 diabetes. Identifying these complex factors allows us to bring them to light, all with hopes of improving quality of life within this patient population.

Marissa Nash


Hi I’m Marissa Nash and I am the secretary for CURBS. Previously, I served on the educational outreach committee and volunteered at PK Yonge and Rawlings Elementary Schools. I am a third year microbiology and cell science major on the pre-med track. I conduct research in the Department of Neuroscience in the College of Medicine focusing on spinal cord injury intervention through electrical stimulation.

Michelle Hsia

Director of Internal Affairs

Hi I’m Michelle Hsia and I am a 3rd year Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience major on the pre-med track. I am currently doing research in the McKnight Brain Institute on the neuroscience of addiction and how children whose pregnant mothers suffer from addiction can suffer from physical and cognitive repercussions as they grow older. Serving as Director of Internal Affairs, I am responsible for coordinating student-facing promotional events such as tabling events and undergraduate research Preview presentations. My interests include going to the gym, traveling, and trying out every single restaurant in Gainesville.

Jordan Laib

Director of External Affairs

I am a third year Medical Geography in Global Health Major, Health Disparities in Society minor on a pre-public health track. My research interests span from tropical infectious alpha-viruses to the intersection of HIV and alcoholism in diverse communities. This year, I will be serving as the Director of External Affairs, coordinating in-class and general body undergraduate research presentations. Following graduation, I plan to pursue a Master’s Degree in Public Health and work in the field of health policy and management.

Bryn Tolchinsky

Director of Workshops

Hi! I am Bryn Tolchinsky and I am one of the two Directors of Workshops for the 2019-2020 school year. I am a senior pursuing both a Bachelor’s and Master’s of Science in Microbiology and am planning to pursue a Ph.D. in microbiology following graduation. My research in the Emerging Pathogens Institute studies the diversity of clinical and environmental isolates of the pathogen Burkholderia pseudomallei, a bacterium that causes a pneumonia-like disease called melioidosis.

Claire Weaver

Director of Workshops

Claire Weaver is one of the Directors of Workshops for CURBS for the 2019-2020 school year. She is a junior Biochemistry major and has research interests in cellular pathway aggregation and protein phase transitions.

Aanchal Shah

Director of Peer Advising

Hi My name is Aanchal Shah and I am a third-year Psychology major pursuing a Dance in Medicine certificate and Dance Minor on the pre-medical track. I have been researching under the Center for Arts and Medicine department since her freshman year. An Emerging Scholars Award recipient, my research focuses on the benefits and risks of dance movement therapy in the palliative care system and how it can be used as a non-pharmological method for alleviating pain in patients who have terminal illnesses. I’m is passionate about helping other students find research opportunities that they love and am serving as one of the Directors of Advising this year.

Dylan Burgin

Director of Peer Advising

Research Description: I am investigating how nitric oxide synthase and SrrAB (an important regulatory system) play a role in virulence strategies (production of toxins and biofilm formation) of Staphylococcus aureus, which is a particularly devastating opportunistic pathogen.

What do I do? I am the Director of Research Advancement. I specialize in connecting undergraduate students to scholarship opportunities and research programs such as the University Scholars Program and the Emerging Scholars Program. I also help students formulate research presentations and raise awareness of presentation opportunities and REUs (research experiences for undergraduates).

Wellington Dos Santos

Director of Educational Outreach

My name is Wellington Dos Santos, and I am double majoring in Pre-Professional Biology and Family, Youth, and Community Sciences. I am the Director of Educational Outreach for CRUBS, serving the children at Lincoln Middle and Rawlings Elementary. My research interests include anything that deals with children and adolescents’ health. Currently, I am a trainee at the Study of Teen Opioid Misuse and Prevention laboratory with my mentor and principal investigator, Dr. Micah Johnson. At the STOMP lab, I utilize Florida’s Department of Juvenile Justice to examine different socioeconomic statuses as a predictor for past 30-day opioid misuse among children. My goal as an undergraduate student and researcher is to obtain a better understanding of how age and diversity influence people’s health statuses.

Lauren Sevilla

Director of Educational Outreach

My name is Lauren Sevilla and I am a third-year Microbiology and Cell Science major minoring in leadership and bioinformatics. My research interests include epigenetic regulation, cell therapy, and stem cell transplantation and I currently serve as one of the Directors of Educational Outreach. 

Valerie Prytkova

Director of Public Relations

I am third-year Biology major, conducting research in the Entomology Department. My project focuses on analyzing salivary glands in the Caribbean fruit fly in hopes of making the environmentally friendly form of pesticides (SIT) more common and affordable. As director of Public Relations, I hope to raise awareness for CURBS and the projects we take on and to create a more centralized approach for the student body in finding, conducting, and succeeding in research.

Guo Qian

Director of Special Projects

I am a 4th year Biomedical Engineering student with a concentration in biomechanics. As a University Scholar, my research interests are interdisciplinary in musculoskeletal simulation, music, and medicine. I serve as Director of Special Projects to organize the Fall Research Expo, Fall Research Symposium, and FURLS.

Sydney Yu

Director of Special Projects

My name is Sydney Yu and I am a second-year majoring in Electrical Engineering and Biochemistry. I am currently serving as one of the Directors of Special Projects. My research interests involve the investigation of cancer through nanotechnology, biomechanics, and electrophysiology.

Valentina Lavieri-Sosa

Director of the University Liaison Council

I am a junior in the Nutritional Sciences Major on the pre-dental track. This will be my third year being a part of CURBS and I am currently one of the directors for ULC. I have worked with the McKnight Brain Institute on a longitudinal study looking at the various mechanisms involved with aging. Being a part of this organization has opened my eyes to the wondrous world of research and I hope we can do the same for you!

Lauren Rogers

Director of the University Liaison Council

I am a fourth-year Mechanical Engineering Major with research interests in solar energy and renewable power cycles, thermodynamics, and material science. This year, I am serving as one of the directors of the University Liaison Council with the Center for Undergraduate Research.

As a member of CURBS, I developed leadership and communication skills that I use in my career today. CURBS is no guarantee for success, but offers the tools to achieve meaningful growth and thoughtful scholarship.