Student Volunteers

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Current Volunteers


Najwa Ghanem

Research Laboratory Technician Volunteer- Najwa is a fourth-year Psychology major pursuing a career in dentistry. She began as a volunteer research assistant for the PRICE lab in May of 2017. Najwa is an active member of UF Pre-Dental ASDA and UF Pre-Dental Society, both of which allow her to give back to the community through various service events and educate others on maintaining good oral dental care habits. She has previously served on the Social Board of Directors for UF Pre-Dental ASDA, as well as Public Relations Chair, and was recently elected Vice President of the club for the 2017-2018 school year. She is a volunteer for United Way of North Central Florida and Helping Hands Pet Rescue. Najwa has previously participated in a mission trip in the Dominican Republic to assist in providing oral health care and education to underprivileged communities. She plans to graduate in the Fall of 2017 and aspires to attend dental school. In her spare time she enjoys attending service events around Gainesville, volunteering at UF Health Shands Hospital, or simply spending time with friends and family.

Alexandra Hernandez

Research Laboratory Technician Volunteer- Alexandra has been working on the OPPERA II and UPLOAD II studies since January 2016. Her role includes helping run sessions, administering sensory tests, collecting vitals, and assisting in organization of the lab. She is a third-year Biochemistry major on the pre-med track with a minor in Health Disparities in Society. She currently serves as the 2016-2017 President of Florida Crew, the University of Florida’s rowing team. She is also a member of Alpha Epsilon Delta (AED), a pre-health honor society at UF that gives back to the community through volunteering and philanthropic events.


nathan-landryNathan Landry

Research Laboratory Technician Volunteer- Nathan is a second-year Applied Physiology and Kinesiology major and has aspirations to become an orthopedist one day. He has just begun volunteering at PRICE labs, and hopes to participate in multiple areas of research in the coming years.He is learning the inner workings of the UPLOAD program, and will be pursuing superior knowledge in that study over the next several weeks/months. He has a passion for helping others and improving their quality of life, which is why he feels as if the medical field best suits him.  He is also involved in several other things on campus, including being a Dance Marathon captain, playing on the club baseball team, and being in a leadership role for his fraternity, Lambda Chi Alpha



Amy LiKamWa

Research Laboratory Technician Volunteer- Amy LiKamWa is a second year biology major on the Pre-Med track and is also in the Music in Medicine Undergraduate Certificate Program. She joined PRICE in November 2016 and has assisted with OPPERA II and UPLOAD II studies since then. She is a certified EMR with Gator Emergency Medical Response and is looking forward to attending EMT School in the future. As the Catholic Gators Service Coordinator, she plans service events that help those in need throughout Gainesville. She also enjoys volunteering at Baby Gator and Grace Marketplace. In her free time, she loves playing the piano, violin, and ukulele. She has played multiple gigs as a violinist at many settings, including weddings, farmer’s markets, and weekly Mass. Musical interests aside, she aspires to be a pediatrician one day; thus she will continue to take every opportunity to help and serve others.



lane_prof_photoMelanie Lane

Research Laboratory Technician Volunteer- Melanie is a third year student with a major in Applied Physiology and Kinesiology, specializing in Exercise Physiology. She joined the PRICE team in October of 2016. After her undergraduate career, Melanie intends to pursue dentistry. When not immersed in her studies Melanie can be found participating in community service around Gainesville.  She is an active member of Pre-Dental Society and Pre-Dental ASDA, which allows her to educate underserved populations of proper dental habits. Melanie is a Service Board Director for Pre-Dental ASDA creating opportunities for fellow club members to get more involved in community service. Melanie has accumulated over 150 hours volunteering in the Shand’s Dental Clinics and also volunteers through Top Soccer, an organization that promotes creating relationships and exercising to kids with disabilities. In her spare time Melanie enjoys being outdoors, cooking for her friends or family, and enhancing her art skills through painting and creating ceramic pieces. She has a special interest in photography and wishes to travel the world.


ryan-lupariRyan Lupari

Research Laboratory Technician Volunteer–  Ryan has been working on the UPLOAD Follow-up and UPLOAD II studies since the Spring of 2016. He is a 4th-year Applied Physiology and Kinesiology Major with a specialization in Exercise Physiology. He is planning on taking the MCAT and applying to medical school next year. He is currently a Supplemental Instructor for the undergraduate Biochemistry class at UF. This year he is a Director for the Student Government run service project, The Big Event. This is a city-wide service project with University of Florida students involving multiple community service locations throughout an entire day in the Spring semester. He is also a former Shands Hospital student volunteer and a Camp Boggy Creek volunteer. Ryan is also a certified Emergency Medical Responder and is a former member of the Gator EMR club. In PRICE, Ryan is involved in the collection of quantitative sensory testing and functional assessment measures. He assists with Health Assessment Updates in the UPLOAD Follow-up study and also with Health Assessment Sessions and Quantitative Sensory Testing sessions for the UPLOAD II study. He is planning to present a research poster based on the study’s results at a UF Research Day event next year.


 Chase Mallory

Research Laboratory Technician Volunteer- Chase has been working with the OPPERA II, UPLOAD Follow up and UPLOAD II studies since August of 2014. His primary roles include taking patient vitals, performing Quantitative Sensory Testing (i.e. manipulation of Algometer, Thermodes, monofilament punctate and weighted probes), calibrating machinery, running computer software, recording data, assisting with the MRI scanning and ensuring the cleanliness of the lab. Chase is in the College of Public Health and Health Professions where he working on his Bachelors in Health Science, which he plans to complete by May 2018. Last Spring, he started a program known as the Grandkids Organization. The Organization’s mission is to address two growing problems in America: the isolation of our senior citizens and the decreasing empathy of today’s youth toward our senior population. The Grandkids Organization connects students with senior populations at local Hospitals, Assisted Living Facilities and Hospice Foundations to bridge the inter-generational gap. Chase is also a Dean’s Ambassador for his college and a Teaching Assistant for Organic Chemistry. He is involved in several student organizations including Florida Blue Key, Student Government, the American Medical Student Association Premedical Association (AMSA) and the Behavioral Economics Society. Chase plans on pursuing a career in medicine/surgery.


johan-riverraJohan Rivera

Research Laboratory Technician Volunteer– Johan has been working with PRICE studies since January of 2016. He currently works with OPPERA II, SOPRANO, UPLOAD Follow-up, and UPLOAD II. His roles at PRICE lab are primarily clinical based in which he runs clinical sessions. During these clinical sessions he is responsible for: taking a patient’s vitals, administering sensory testing (i.e. manipulation of Algometer, Thermodes, monofilament punctate and probes), administering physical ability tests, and running MRI Session with participants. Johan is a 3rd year Applied Physiology and Kinesiology major specializing in Exercise Physiology with a minor in Spanish. Johan aspires to be a Physician Assistant (PA) in either Sport Medicine or Pediatrics and uses his position at PRICE lab as a source of clinical hours for PA school with his CNA license. Johan is a member of the Pre PA club, Hispanic Student Association and it’s Member Leadership Program, and Alpha Epsilon Delta, a pre health professional honor society. Johan has volunteered at Shands/UF hospital, and currently works at UF Rec Sports.  In his spare time, Johan loves to play and watch sports, exercise, and travel especially medical trips. He will be serving at the Dominican Republican during Spring Break.


Olivia Rosato

Research Laboratory Technician Volunteer- Olivia is a fourth-year Nutrition major pursuing a career in dentistry after graduation. She joined the PRICE team as a student research volunteer in May of 2017. She has just started learning the protocols for the UPLOAD II and SOPRANO studies. Aside from her studies, Olivia is involved in a variety of organizations such as Treasurer for the Pre-Dental Honor Society Delta Delta Sigma, and she is an active member of Pre-Dental Society. Both organizations allow her to volunteer around the Gainesville community participating in dental and non-dental related service projects. She also spends her time volunteering in the student oral surgery clinics in the College of Dentistry. Olivia is also a Teaching Assistant for microbiology lab and involved with MentorUF an organization that helps provide guidance for educational and social problems elementary school students may be experiencing. Olivia plans to graduate in spring of 2018 and aims to start dental school in the fall of 2018.

Christina Rothenberger

Research Laboratory Technician Volunteer- Christina has been part of the PRICE Lab since September 2015 and is involved in the SOPPRANO and UPLOAD II studies. She regularly assists in setting up sessions for SOPPRANO, UPLOAD II QST and occasionally for BISP. She also performs qualitative sensory pain testing using heat and pressure on participants. She is a third year microbiology major and plans to pursue a Master of Public Health and possibly work towards a doctorate degree. For the future, she hopes to work as an epidemiologist under the Center for Disease and Control or National Institutes of Health. When she’s not in the lab, Christina is a site leader for Florida Alternative Breaks, which is a service-learning organization that aims to help local, national, and international communities with certain social issues. She also is involved as a tutor for the ESOL Empowers Program, which aims to help high school students who do not speak English in their school work.


lazaro-tejeraLazaro J Tejera

Student Research Assistant – Lazaro is a third year pre-professional Biology major with a minor in Health Disparities in Society at the University of Florida. He began as a volunteer research assistant with the OPTIMIZE clinical research study in the Spring of 2016 when it was in the early-implementation stage. He assisted with setting up forms and procedures for the study and now serves as the primary research assistant in completing study sessions. He is also involved with the UPLOAD Follow-up and UPLOAD II clinical research studies where his primary roles are to assist with data collection, quantitative sensory testing, and ensure implementation of pre and post study session procedures. Kimberly Sibille M.A., Ph.D. is his clinical research mentor. Under her supervision, Lazaro plans to work on his own study question as a part of his ongoing honors thesis project. He is also involved with the UF American Medical Student Association and serves as an AWARE ambassador for the UF Counseling and Wellness Center. Through these programs he seeks to provide wellness and mental health awareness outreach initiatives for the UF community and establish a campus environment supportive of healthy lifestyles. Lazaro plans to graduate in the Spring of 2018 and aspires to attend medical school after a year of working in research.