Our Team

A Collaborative Group of Physicists, Biologists, & Engineers


Principal Investigator

Assistant Professor of Engineering, Department of Physics & Engineering



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

Luke Bruno

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

Luke Bruno is originally from Oahu. He is now a freshman at Wheaton College studying general engineering with a minor in chemistry. Outside of Luke’s academics he is a member of the Wheaton College Crew Club as well as a barista at My Half of the Sky in downtown Wheaton. Luke has always had a passion for the sciences—specifically as they pertain to medicine, and is excited to have the opportunity to participate in the same type of research he read about growing up. In his free time Luke enjoys spending time with friends, hiking, and eating food!


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.


Nathaniel Rupert

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

Nathaniel Rupert is a mechanical engineering major at Wheaton College. On campus he enjoys taking science classes as well as singing for the Wheaton College Men’s Glee Club. Science has long been a passion and hobby of his, which is why he decided to both help with research and further his scientific education by joining Vazquez Lab.


Juliana Norman

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

Juliana Norman is a biomedical engineering major at Wheaton College. She is currently an NCAA D3 student-athlete, on the Wheaton College women's soccer team as well as the track team. In her free time, she likes to run, read, and spend time with friends.


Samuel Schutz

Major: Applied Physics, B.S. and Chemistry,  B.S. | Grad yr: '26 |  Wheaton College

Sam Schutz is a pre-med junior majoring in chemistry and applied physics at Wheaton College. As a pre-med applied physics student, he is looking forward to combining these two disciplines into biomechanical engineering research. During the school year, he is also an organic chemistry TA and tennis player. Growing up in the twin cities suburbs, Sam has strong ties to Minnesota sports teams despite their often subpar performances. Some of his favorite hobbies in his free time include juggling and playing chess. 


Samuel Kendall

Major: Biomedical Engineering, B.S. | Grad yr: '27|  WashU

Sam Kendall is currently studying music and biomedical engineering (BS/MS) at Washington University in St. Louis. He is passionate about mechanobiology and biomedical imaging. In addition to his coursework, he spent the last academic school year doing radiology research in an MRI lab at the Washington University School of Medicine, which has ignited a love for health related research. Sam also spent the last year as visiting organ scholar at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Des Peres, MO. A lifelong dream of his is to one day pursue a degree in Sacred Music.


Prior 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! 


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.


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.


Major:. | Grad yr: |  Wheaton College


Lab Alumni

Previous Mentees

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