Our Team

A Collaborative Group of Physicists, Biologists, & Engineers

DR. KELLY VAZQUEZ

Principal Investigator

Assistant Professor of Engineering, Department of Physics & Engineering

Education

Biography

Trained as a physicist, Dr. Vazquez completed her PhD in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she established a true love for interdisciplinary research. Following her PhD, she conducted her postdoctoral work at the renowned Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes on the University of Colorado-Anschutz Medical Campus in islet cell biology.  During her career, she has been awarded grants from the NIH and the Children's Diabetes Foundation, and has conducted research at both Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory. 

As a passionate scientist and engineer, she is dedicated to find innovative treatments to help fight autoimmune diseases such as diabetes.  Overall, it is her greatest aspiration to see more first generation, minority, and women scientists, such as herself, pursue a career in STEM. Therefore, her enthusiasm for teaching and mentorship, coupled with her passion for science, has motivated her to pursue a career as a professor.

Lab Members

Carsten Schumm

Major: Aerospace Engineering, B.S. | Grad yr: '25 |  Wheaton College 

Carsten Schumm is a junior studying aerospace engineering at Wheaton College! Carsten is a member of the Wheaton Thunder men’s varsity basketball team as well as the media coordinator for the Society of Physics Students (SPS). Carsten is looking forward to participating in undergrad research because he enjoys the challenge of helping others through solving complex problems! His free time is spent with friends and family, but his summers are always spent at the Jersey Shore either surfing or boating! 

LinkedIn

Abbie Strack

Major: Applied Physics, B.S. | Grad yr: '24 |  Wheaton College

Abbie is a senior at Wheaton College majoring in Applied Physics! She is a teaching assistant for the Engineering Lab and is the VP for Society of Physics Students. Abbie is excited to join research in the lab because she wants to learn more about biomechanics. In her free time, she enjoys hanging out with friends, going outdoors, and exploring Chicago.


LinkedIn

Kaleb Martiny

Major: Aerospace Engineering, B.S. | Grad yr: '25 |  Wheaton College

Kaleb Martiny is a junior at Wheaton majoring in Aerospace Engineering! Beyond his academic pursuits, Kaleb is involved in campus life through his participation in Ingenium, where he focuses on Jellyfish Culturing. His passion for research stems from a desire to work on projects with tangible real-world applications, and it also connects him to his family's medical background, making him feel like a valuable contributor to that legacy. When he's not in the lab, Kaleb enjoys spending quality time with friends, exploring new destinations through travel, and engaging in a spirited game of Catan.

LinkedIn

Kaleb Ecklund

Major: Engineering, B.S. | Grad yr: '26 |  Wheaton College

Kaleb Ecklund is a sophomore majoring in biomedical engineering at Wheaton College.  Kaleb is also a Nickelback for the Wheaton College football team and involved in his family’s nonprofit, Keyara’s Gift.  Kaleb is excited to learn more about biomechanics and get more involved in the medical field through this research.  In his free time, you’ll find him and his friends exploring new places or just hanging out.


LinkedIn

Sofia Tavarez Robles

Major: Mechanical Engineering, B.S. | Grad yr: '27 |  Wheaton College

Lab Alumni

Lab Alumni

Andrea Laurin, MS

University of Colorado-Anschutz Medical Campus

Degree: MS in Bioengineering , 2023

Thesis Title: " Influence of the Mechanical Environment on Coordinated beta-cell Clusters

Current Position: Research Scientist, University of Michigan 

Devon Horton

University of Colorado-Anschutz Medical Campus

Degree: BS in Bioengineering , graduation 2024

Current Position: Senior in Bioengineering