Daniel Betancourt


"Become the best version of yourself."

College: Medicine
Degree Program: Biomedical Sciences
Degree: Doctoral

Awards: McKnight Doctoral Fellowship (2021)

Why FSU?
I completed my undergraduate education at FSU and the experience stayed with me through the years. As I considered returning for a PhD, FSU was naturally one of my top choices. I chose the Biomedical Sciences Doctoral Program at FSU because of the emphasis given to interdisciplinary research and the connection with the College of Medicine, as I am interested in translational biotechnology. Additionally, I considered that the program's curriculum and structure would provide me with the support, resources, and exposure to explore and grow as a researcher.

Motivation to pursue a graduate degree
I always wanted to pursue a career in biotechnology; however, fortune seemed to keep pushing me in other directions. Recently, my son was born, and the event shifted the paradigm. I pursue a graduate degree to achieve goals I set for myself years ago despite the challenges of doing so while raising a family. I do this in the hope that I can be an example to my son, to show him the difficulties that can be achieved through effort and determination.

Importance and impact of research
I am currently involved in lab rotations so I do not have a defined research track. Rotations are a built-in feature of the program that expose students to new research topics, techniques, and problem-solving approaches. My research interests are centered around translational biotechnology, including design of drug and biomedical devices, gene therapy, and biosensors.

Advice for prospective graduate students
If you are seriously considering graduate school, you probably belong in graduate school. I would encourage you to stray off the path for a while, though. Try something different for a few months, work in industry, take a few months off, and search within to be sure what you want to do, but be careful! It's easy to get stuck in a loop, especially if you are being paid. Then apply to become an expert and inspire others along the way.

Accomplishments during graduate career
I was awarded the McKnight Doctoral Fellowship. I am proud of the publication and master's thesis completed under the tutelage of Dr. Rice at Tennessee Tech University (TTU). I am also proud of service as president and secretary of the Chemical Engineering Graduate Student Association (CEGRA) at TTU.

Career aspirations
I aspire to become a researcher developing new technologies to improve the health and well-being of fellow humans. I further aspire to make technologies available to under-resourced populations, particularly in Central and South America.