Beatriz Veronese

Joined the lab in January 2021

Position: Graduate student


Lab: 352-273-9897

Education: Bachelors in Dentistry,

Federal University of Para, Brazil

I am a dentist who decided to exchange a clinical career to explore my passion for science. Since my Ph.D. journey began, I had the opportunity to work with very motivating research projects and have had hands-on experience in a broad range of techniques such as cell culture, immunofluorescence approaches, gene knockdown experiments, transcription inhibition assays, molecular cloning techniques, proliferation assays, cell cycle analysis, qRT-PCR, western blotting and more. I decided to do a laboratory rotation at Dr. Ma's lab because I am interested in exploring carcinogenic viruses, and more specifically, I am interested in how Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) modulate cell signaling pathways in the host organism. I believe that the identification and characterization of KSHV proteins, as well as their targeted pathways on a host, may pinpoint novel approaches for treating or preventing KSHV-triggered cancer. At Dr. Ma's laboratory, I will have the opportunity to engage in many different laboratory methodologies, including CRISPR/CAS9, which is a state-of-the-art technique for genome editing. I will also learn fundamental approaches of the virology field, which is relatively new to me, and thus will broaden my background as a biomedical research assistant. I am confident that this rotation project will help me acquire meaningful experience and learning and will contribute to my path towards progressively independent researcher.

Noah Benscher

Joined the lab in October 2020

Position: Research Technician


Lab: 352-273-9897

Education: B.Sci. in Biomathematics, Florida State University

I began my undergraduate career at FSU as a physics major but switched to biomathematics when I realized I enjoyed studying nature much more than its underlying forces. Shortly after, I began volunteering in Dr. Zhu’s laboratory, where I primarily investigated ORF52 of KSHV and acquired fundamental research techniques. Under the guidance of an inspiring and amicable doctoral candidate, I grew very fond of doing research and decided to pursue this career path. In Dr. Ma’s laboratory, I will develop my skills as an effective researcher, progress our efforts in discerning the complex relationships between KSHV and innate immunity, and do my best to keep the lab organized and clean. Aside from work, my hobbies are rather geriatric and include gardening, playing chess, and (as of recently) playing Go. Feel free to challenge me to a game after work.

Salma Drew

Joining the lab in January 2021

Position: Lab assistant


Office: 352-273-9897

Education: Sophomore, Biochemistry,

University of Florida

I am a sophomore Biochemistry major here at UF, and I hope to also minor in Health Disparities and Mathematics. I hope to pursue a research career in Biochemistry, and my goal is to pursue graduate school, and hopefully one day, work toward a Ph.D. somewhere in the field of biochemistry. I joined Dr. Ma’s lab to learn the basics of research, learn from researchers far more experienced than me, and develop important research skills that I can hopefully use throughout my career. In my free time, I really like playing piano, painting, and writing!

Gary Brown

Joined the lab in January 2021

Position: The Ultimate Savior and Lab manager


Office: 352-273-6569

Education: B.Sc. in Botany, University of Glasgow, Scotland

I have worked in a diverse area in my science career, tackling everything from transgenic production, stem cell manipulation, small animal surgery and virus production to name but a few. I have trained many dozens of researchers over my career in such areas, and currently am the University trainer for the Perkin Elmer IVIS Spectrum bioluminescent/fluorescent imager. My goal is to leverage my experience to assist personnel in acquiring additional skills, maintain the laboratory and provide the group with regulatory compliance support as needed. Over my 20 year tenure at UF, I have developed a substantial network of resources across the UF Health Sciences Center over the years and understand the criticality of relationship building for future flexibility. My goal is to be a problem fixer and process improver; a resource that motivates, engages and is not hesitant to evolve. I am always eager to learn, improvise and innovate.

Lab alumni

Natacha Jn-simon

Rotation student: 04-05/2021

Current position: TBD

Education: B.Sc. Microbiology and Cell Science, University of Florida