Alyssa Mickle, MS

Hometown: Newport, NC

Year I became a Gator: 2021

Department: Neuroscience

Mentor: Erica Dale, PhD

Research focus: My research focus is in improving breathing function after spinal cord injury using epidural stimulation. In particular, I aim to better understand how this electrical stimulation may lead to respiratory neuroplasticity to best optimize treatment for eventual device independence.

What drives me: Pushing the boundary on what is known is my biggest passion. Being the first person to know something new and then getting to share that knowledge with the world is the greatest thrill, and getting to do that in a field which can directly benefit others is incredibly fulfilling.

What I like most about the BREATHE Training Program: My favorite part about the BREATHE Training Program is the center that surrounds it. Even before being on the T32, it was awesome to see how strong of a community the BREATHE center fosters. I am very excited to meet and collaborate with even more center members as a part of the training program.

Awards & achievements since being on the T32: This year I was recognized as a SPARC Emerging Scientist at the Experimental Biology 2022 Annual Meeting.

What I like about Gainesville: I love how many parks and preserves are in the area; it’s great to be able to unwind and explore natural spaces. I’m even able to take a trail right into a nature park straight from my apartment complex!

Why I chose BREATHE at the University of Florida: I think it’s very important to be able to conduct interdisciplinary research, and so was looking for institutions and programs that had strong research focuses in both medicine and engineering. The BREATHE center makes this even easier with members from departments and colleges across UF.

What makes the BREATHE Training Program unique? The program’s focus on all aspects of translation from bench to bedside makes it very unique. As basic scientists, it is important to get insight from and work with clinicians and patients throughout the discovery process, which the program works to foster from an early stage.

What I do for fun: I love volleyball, and have really enjoyed playing on the graduate organization’s intramural teams. I’m also a huge rollercoaster fanatic, and enjoy taking weekend trips to Florida’s various theme parks.