Alexandra Diller, PhD

Hometown: St. Albans, MO

Year I became a Gator: 2023

Department: Physical Therapy

Mentor: David Fuller, PhD

Research focus: My research focuses on molecular and morphological changes that occur in the microvasculature and muscle fibers of the diaphragm after spinal cord injury with and without hyperbaric oxygen treatment.

What drives me: I need to understand the mechanisms that promote regeneration and coordination between cell types after traumatic injury. Through this pursuit, I hope that my research can lead to more productive treatments for patients.

What I like most about the BREATHE Training Program: The strong community within the BREATHE center and the BREATHE training program is evident from the start. I appreciate the emphasis on connecting bench scientists and clinicians to advance translational research.

Awards/achievements since being on the T32: I’m newly appointed to the T32 so I haven’t earned any awards yet, but I can’t wait to get started! During my PhD I was awarded an F31 fellowship, and a number of other awards and grants through the University of Missouri.

What I like about Gainesville: I’m new to Florida and love being outdoors! Gainesville and the surrounding area offer many unique opportunities to explore nature year-round. I’m really looking forward to seeing the diversity of plant life and maybe a gator or two.

Why I chose BREATHE at the University of Florida: I chose the BREATHE program for my postdoctoral training because of the interdisciplinary approach to research. The collaborative research community at UF supports and encourages me while I learn new skills, develop my research, and navigate a new state. The BREATHE program offers the tools and opportunities to support my professional and scientific development.

What makes the BREATHE Training Program unique? I love the diversity of approach and thought that researchers bring to the BREATHE program. The program isn’t limited to a specific style or approach to research, it welcomes any and all research backgrounds with an interest in breathing. The incorporation of perspectives from many different areas of research enhances the development of the individual and the research question.

What I do for fun: I love group fitness, hiking, and baking. Recently, I’ve started agility classes with my dog, Harry. Harry is much better than I am, but I love connecting with him and building new memories through unique challenges.