UF student chosen for the Marshall Scholarship, will pursue Masters degrees in United Kingdom – The Independent Florida Alligator

Posted: January 7, 2020 at 8:42 pm

In high school Aaron Sandoval became obsessed with Deadpool, Marvels comic character who has accelerated healing and regenerative powers.

Sandoval has turned in his superhero cape for a lab coat in medicine by working with reparative methods for the human body. And now, hes received a national award that will allow him to do that.

Sandoval, a 21-year-old UF biology senior, was selected for the Marshall Scholarship, which gives students in the U.S. a chance to pursue their graduate studies in the United Kingdom, all expenses paid. He is the second Marshall scholar in UFs history, following Steven Robinette in 2009.

Sandoval was one of 46 students chosen out of over 1,000 applicants across the U.S.

The Marshall Scholarship Program was created in 1953 to thank the U.S. for helping the U.K. after World War II under the Marshall Plan, which was the U.S.s way of helping European economies after the devastation of the war, according to the programs website.

It still hasnt really sunk in yet, Sandoval said. Im happy to have won it.

Sandoval said in his two years at the University of Cambridge and Kings College London hell study biochemistry and focus on the transfer of stem cells from the lab to the patients so they can understand what cells are being used to help them.

Sandoval has collaborated with UF faculty members like Malcolm Maden, a professor in UFs Cancer and Genetics Research Institute. Sandoval and Maden worked in a lab with an African spiny mouse, to figure out how stem cells repair parts of the human body like skin tissue.

In 2012, Maden and his research team discovered the African spiny mouses ability to regenerate skin scar free. Maden wrote one of Sandovals letters of recommendation for his application for the scholarship.

Sandoval said if the mouses regeneration of skin cells could be translated to humans, then a humans wounds could completely heal rather than scar.

Sandoval didnt have the opportunity to do research in high school and wanted to learn more at the university level, so he decided to take Madens lab.

Maden said Sandovals uniqueness stems from his intelligence, drive and ability to interact with different kinds of people.

Hes behaved like a dynamic scientist, not like an undergrad, he said. Completely amazing, totally unique guy.

Sandoval said he feels fortunate to have won the award and to have so many people who helped him get to this point.

I couldnt have done it without the support of family, friends, mentors, he said. It took a whole village to win this thing.

Contact Emma McAvoy at[emailprotected]. Follow her on Twitter@EmmaMcAvoy1.

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UF student chosen for the Marshall Scholarship, will pursue Masters degrees in United Kingdom - The Independent Florida Alligator

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