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Principal Investigator

Swadeshmukul Santra, Ph.D.


My research group is focused on the development of novel material composition and related industrially-viable technologies for biomedical and agricultural applications. Specific research interests include bioimaging and sensing, cancer imaging and therapy, stem cell tracking, drug delivery, and study of antimicrobial compounds.


I am born and brought up in West Bengal, India. I completed my PhD in chemistry at the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur and soon after I joined the University of Florida to conduct postdoctoral research. Prior to joining the UCF in Fall 2005, I was employed at the UF Department of Neurological Surgery and Particle Engineering Research Center. I enjoy cooking signature Bengali dishes for my family and friends and also love traveling.

Ph.D. Students

Jorge Pereira


My research focuses on multi-nutrient nanoformulations for agriculture. By combining different nutrients at the right ratios, we can surpass the benefits of their individual application. Additionally, I also research on novel nano-delivery systems for biomedical applications.


Born and raised in Honduras. In my free time, I like to practice and learn about metagaming. I also enjoy coffee, pizza, and discussing ideas.

Edwin Davidson


My research is focused on the development of novel nanotherapeutics for wound healing, and nano-fertilizer for efficient nutrient uptake and growth.


I was born and raised in Panama City, Panama. I completed my B.S. in Industrial Chemistry (2015) from University of Panama and M.Ed. in Higher Education (2018) from Technological University of Panama. I completed my MS in Nanotechnology in 2020 at UCF prior to joining the Chemistry PhD program. Some of my hobbies include hiking, watching movies, traveling, and playing board games

Preeti Maiti


My research is focused on synthesis and characterization of nano-pesticides.


I previously completed a B.Sc. (Agriculture Hons.) in India. I like to read and write stories. I also like to draw and sketch.

Bhanu Sharma


My research is focused on the synthesis and characterization of nanomaterials for agriculture applications.


Born in Delhi, India. I completed my B.Sc in chemistry from the University of Delhi (2016) and Master’s in organic chemistry from Jamia Hamdard (2018) before joining the Chemistry PhD program at UCF. I enjoy traveling, cooking, and playing strategy games.

Master Students

Umar Mohammad


My research is focused on fungicide loaded nanoparticles for agricultural use and the development of nanotherapeutics for targeted delivery.


Born in Chicago, Illinois but raised in here in Orlando, Florida. In my free time I enjoy reading, baking, gardening, and film photography. 

Cecilia Uchechukwu Ezeanya


My research is geared toward harnessing the potential of CAPTAP nanoparticle system to optimize the efficacy/efficiency of antibiotics, a hydrophobic molecule, and a fungicide on a large scale, catering to both biomedical and agricultural applications.


My nickname is Youcee, and I am Nigerian. I graduated with top honors in Botany from the prestigious University of Ibadan. I enjoy traveling, networking, sports, yoga, upcycling and recycling. 

Sawyer Chang


My work is focused on the augmentation of natural nanoparticles to load a myriad of potential compounds for protection from physiological conditions.


Born and raised in Apopka, Florida. I completed my B.S. in Health Sciences (Pre-Clinical Track) in 2023, and I am currently pursuing my MS in Nanotechnology. 

Dianna Machado


Currently assisting in the synthesis and characterization of fungicide-loaded nanoparticles for agriculture applications.


I am a first-generation Brazilian-American, born and raised in South Florida. My hobbies encompass hiking, cooking, and playing volleyball. 

Sharon Rodriguez


Development of Creatine-loaded Polymer Particles for the Treatment of Cerebral Creatine Deficiency Syndromes.


I am an Ecuadorian-American and was born and raised in Queens, New York until I moved to Florida. In my free time, I enjoy drawing, cosplaying, and giving back to my community through volunteering. 

Research Assistants

Sebastian Leon


Development of Creatine-loaded Polymer Particles for the Treatment of Cerebral Creatine Deficiency Syndromes. 


Born in Colombia and was raised in South Florida for most of my life. I love basketball, weightlifting, and competing in triathlons. I will be continuing my education at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine as an MD/PhD student in Fall 2024. 

Allison Lloyd


My current research focuses on nano-agriculture and the incorporation of nanotechnology in the agricultural industry as a potential solution to the numerous problems that plague the industry. I characterize various novel Nano-zinc based products to determine their viability as an alternative to current commercial standards. These products are multi-purpose, serving as bactericides and/or fertilizers.


I’m a first-generation Hungarian-American who was born and raised in Orlando, Florida. In my free time I enjoy growing succulents, visiting theme parks, and going to the beach. 

Adarsh Basavaraju


My team aims to utilize Machine Learning and AI to analyze the deposition of chemical compounds frequently used in Citrus Crop Cultivation such as Copper Hydroxide and Oxytetracycline. Our Research will give growers more insight into their pesticide usage and allow them to make informed decisions on their growing procedure during the growing period.


Grew Up in Bangalore, India and completed my bachelor’s program there. My hobbies are cooking, rock climbing and painting.

Undergraduate Students

Melissa Deinys


Previously in a research internship at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden I investigated different pathogens causing the decline of red mangrove populations. Currently, at UCF, my research continues to focus on alternative treatments to prevent or reduce mangrove die off. In particular, working on the use of nanotechnology to develop an environmentally-friendly antifungal formulation for plants. 


I was born and raised in Miami, Florida as a first-generation Cuban-American. When I am not in the lab I love to read, travel to new places, and dance. I am passionate about environmental conservation and finding eco-friendly solutions to ecological problems.

Yael Faroud


I am currently learning different methodologies for the synthesis and characterization of nanoparticles for agriculture and biomedical applications.


I am originally from Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and moved to Orlando for college. I am a junior majoring in Chemistry with a minor in Health Science. In the future, I plan to pursue higher education and a career in chemistry research and development. Outside of academics, I enjoy traveling, hanging out with friends, and going to the mall.

Cooper Foxman


Working on a project to develop an artificial intelligence program that identifies different types of pesticide residue on leaves.


Grew up in Daytona Beach, Florida. I am currently majoring in biomedical sciences with a minor in crime, law, and deviance. In my free time, I enjoy running.

Nelson Jones


Working on a collaborative project aimed at creating an artificial intelligence program capable of recognizing various types of pesticide residues on leaves.


Born and raised in Daytona Beach, Florida. I am a biology major with a minor in medical sociology. I have a passion for both serving underprivileged communities and exploring the field of chemistry. I spend my free time playing various sports with my family.

Giulio Diracca


Currently I am involved in creating an Artificial Intelligence (AI) software that will be able to determine the pesticide residue remaining on plants, with the intent of reducing pesticide related waste and pollution.


I am Italian born, and moved to Florida at a young age. I lived in Fort Myers for a time until moving to Orlando to attend UCF. After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree, I intend on pursuing a PhD in chemistry. In my free time I enjoy running, drawing, reading and learning new skills.


Previous Postdoctoral Researchers

Subir Kumar Sabui (Research Scientist (team leader) at Sapala Organics Pvt. Ltd., Hyderabad, India)

Shelly John Mechery (Scientist, Raytheon Intelligence and Space, CA, USA).

Soumitra Kar (Assistant Professor of Physics, School of Applied Science, Haldia Institute of Technology, Haldia, (W.B), India).

Subhash Banerjee (Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, Guru Ghasidas University, Bilaspur (C.G.), India)

Padmavathy Tallury (Research Professional, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia).

Subhajit Biswas (Senior Postdoctoral Fellow, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland).

Rajendra Narayan Mitra (Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Opthalmology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC).

Smruti Das

Parthiban Rajasekaran (Sanofi, Boston, USA)

Rajneesh Prajapati

Maria Campos (Professor, Eastern Florida State College, Florida, USA)

Hajeewaka Mendis (Assistant Professor, Truman State University, Missouri, USA)

Students graduated with thesis

1. Sebastian Leon (MS in Nanotechnology, Research Assistant, UCF)

2. Ashton Holderness (MS in Biotechnology)

3. Giuliana Gan Giannelli (MS in Biotechnology, Research Associate, Enceladus Bio, NYC)

4. Stephen Smith (PhD in Chemistry; Accepted a faculty position (teaching-track) at the Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, FL)

5. Mikaeel Young (PhD in Molecular Biology and Microbiology; Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry)

6. Ali Ozcan (PhD in Chemistry; Vice Director of Scientific and Technological Studies Application and Research Center, Vocational School of Technical Sciences, Karamanoglu Mehmetbey University, Karaman, Turkey)

7. Tyler Maxwell (PhD in Chemistry; Accepted a position at the DoD lab in Panama City, FL)

8. Ziyang Huang (PhD in Chemistry; Senior Research Scientist at Wynca Group, China)

9. Ryan Heetai (MS in Nanotechnology; leading Biotech company, North Carolina)

10. Samjhana Bhandari (MS in Biotechnology, Research assistance at the School Medicine in Wayne State University)

11. Danya Belnour (MS in Biotechnology)

12. Srijita Basumallick (PhD in Chemistry; Assistant Professor, Asutosh College, Kolkata, India)

13. Jennifer Archer (PhD in Molecular Biology and Microbiology)

14. Astha Malhotra (PhD in Chemistry; Co-advisor)

15. Chetak Patel (MS in Chemistry; scientist, Johnson and Johnson)

16. Pavithra Maniprasad (MS in Biotechnology; employed at eClinicalWorks as healthcare business intelligence)

17. Roseline Menezes (MS in Biotechnology; joined PhD program at New Jersey Institute of Technology)

18. Mikaeel Young (PhD in BSBS; Postdoc at Baylor University, Texas, USA)

19. Jeremy Tharkur (MS in Molecular Biology and Microbiology; St. Georges University Medical School, Grenada)

20. Andrew Teblum (MS in Interdisciplinary Research; Teacher, Coral Spring High School, Coral Springs, FL)

21. Joshua Bazata (MS in Biotechnology; LECOM medical School, Bradenton, Sarasota, FL)

22. Megan Berroth (MS in Biotechnology, Biologics Development Services, Tampa, FL)

23. Keith Payton (MS in Dentistry; Co-Advisor (external); Department of Orthodontics, Case Western Reserve University)

24. Stephanie Carbone Bolyard (MS in Department of Civil, Environmental, and Construction Engineering; Co-Advisor)

Student Graduated non-thesis MS/Volunteer

1. Jorge Martinez (MS, PSM Nanoscience and Nanotechnology)

2. Harikishan Kannan (MS, Department of Materials Science and Engineering)

3. Kamry Samuel (MS Nanotechnology)

4. Nirav Modha (MS Nanotechnology)

5. Andris Pitysingh (MS Department of Chemistry)

6. Ernesto Navarro (MS Nanotechnology)

7. Anastasiia Gryshyna (MS Nanotechnology)

8. Nirav Modha (MS Nanotechnology)

9. Ernesto Navarro (MS Nanotechnology)

10. Henry Monprevil (MS Nanotechnology)

11. Nicole Hancock (MS Nanotechnology)

12. Samantha Abbott (MS Nanotechnology)

UCF Undergraduate students mentored

Lida Kuthokathan, Jaqueline Tejada, Nicole Clark, Anastasiia Pestereva, Felicity Rizzi, Ayushi Jain, Chu Kyaw, Arya Patel, Alex King, Zachary Fosler, Ashton Lee, Kelly Kenniff, Alise Oti Ramirez, Alejandra Ricaurte Diaz, Andrew Teblum, Christine Malgoza, Carlos Solano, Jennelle Suarez, Jessica Tyus, Karishma Cantarero, Antonia Bass, Keith Payton, Logan Byrne, Jay Patel, Richard Alvarez, Sabrina Ghim, Sara Rifai, Tamre Parsons, Nick Fusco, Priya Patel, Sheevani Bhalsod, Preeti Kumrah (BS in BSBS), Simone Laing (Chemistry); John Bittman (Nano PSM/MS student; Presidential Management Fellow, NIH/NCI), Michael Mitchell (UG, Chemistry), Zon Thwin (UG, Interdisciplinary Studies), Ava Milani (UG, Psychology), Priscila Louis (UG, Chemistry-Forensic), Ketsira Pierre (Chemistry)

REU students mentored

Marco Rojas-Cessa – Columbia University, Aleksay Strekalov – Alfred University, Megan Gothard – Kenyon College, and Amanda Gomez – Harvard University.

Students admitted to medical/dental school

Nadia Siegel (Nova Southeastern University, Orlando), Ernesto Navarro (St. George’s University, Grenada, West Indies), Ashton Lee (University of Central Florida, medical), Keith Payton (Case Western Reserve University, dental), Sabrina Ghim (University of Central Florida, medical), Sara Rifai (University of Florida; dental), Simone Liang (Meharry Medical College); Karishma Cantarero (PA, Orlando Health), Michael Mitchell (Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine), Jeremy Tharkur (St. George’s University, Grenada, West Indies)

High School students mentored

Gabrielle Rickstrew (Lake Brantley High School; currently at Carnegie Mellon University)

Niharika Maity (Hagerty High School; Currently at University of Florida)

Rikhav Shah (Lake Highland Preparatory School; Currently at Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Mentor of ASPIRE Research Program)

Kendyl Drayer (Lake Brantley High School)

Kripa Ahuja (Trinity Preparatory School; University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, pre-med student)

Jonathan Sepulveda (Hagerty High School, Oviedo, FL)

Sarina Khemchandani (Windermere Preparatory School, Orlando; joined Brown University, PLME BS/MD program)

Sanjana Konda (Lake Highland Preparatory School, Orlando; accepted in Brown University, PLME BS/MD program)

Abhiram Kunamneni (Volunteered through Fall 2021- online; admitted to University of Michigan)

Other student research assistants mentored

Javier Rivera-Huertas (UCF BSBS – Lab Technician), Olajompo Moloye (Johnson and Johnson; Ney Jersey), Supriyo Ray (Graduated with PhD from UCF), Preethi Mylavarapu, Cynthia Klein, Cynthia Yates, Anindarupa Chunder (GLOBALFOUNDRIES, San Francisco, CA), Jayanta Das (Graduated with PhD from University of Texas, Arlington), and Henry Monprevil (NSTC).

Publications and Patents

Research Articles (Peer-Reviewed)

You can find the latest list of publications and patents with this link to Google Scholar.

Open Positions

  • We are looking for highly motivated graduate students with chemistry, material sciences, and biotechnology research and educational background. Interested candidates should contact Dr. Swadeshmukul Santra at