College:College of Medicine
Degree Program:Biomedical Sciences PhD
Research Focus:Using micro/nanotechnologies to improve biomedical research
Charles Didier thought he would become a pastry chef; for most of his young life. His love of cooking and baking, and an artistic influence from his family, made the path into the culinary arts a natural choice.
His perspective shifted after his cousin, an air force pilot, was involved in a motorcycle accident resulting in the amputation of his leg. Fortunately, his cousin regained his ability to fly planes thanks to a company called Ottobock, which manufactures highly advanced prosthetics. Seeing how science helped his cousin inspired Didier to become involved in the discipline himself.
“I ended up pursuing the sciences and, while I can’t say that it all comes easy to me, there is an aspect of it that is still highly creative in an almost artistic way that showed me science can be for anyone,” he says.
In 2022, Didier graduated from UCF with a Biomedical Sciences PhD while conducting cutting-edge research of his own, intending to help others through science. His research utilized micro and nanotechnologies to improve biomedical research. Didier worked on developing sensors that can provide information about electrically active cells, like brain and heart cells, and creating electrodes that can read the signals they give off. “Sensors like this can be used for drug screening and personalized to patients’ needs without putting them at risk since it is all done in a lab setting,” he says.
For his work, Didier was inducted into the Order of Pegasus. The Order of Pegasus is the most prestigious award a student can attain at UCF and recognizes scholars for their academic achievement, professional or community service, leadership, and publication or research experiences. “It really is an honor,” he says. Those selected for this distinction represent the most dedicated and high-achieving Knights.
Didier describes how he was met with great support at UCF and feels fortunate to have worked under his Professor, Swami Rajaraman, PhD, during his master’s and doctoral studies. “I thrived in graduate studies thanks to his guidance, support, and willingness to discuss and come up with research that is as close to where my passion lies as possible,” he says. “Finding the right lab makes all the difference in your graduate school experience!”
Didier has been a proud Knight since 2011. As a dual major in Biotechnology and Biomedical Sciences for his undergraduate in 2015, he returned for his master's in Nanotechnology in 2019 before carrying out his doctoral studies at the university as well. He appreciates the interdisciplinary nature of the curriculum and the emphasis UCF places on supporting student research endeavors.
UCF holds a special place in his heart due to the memories he made over the years: working in the Student Union, making great friends and colleagues, and even meeting his now fiancée as a student. Didier also helped to found two organizations at the university, the Eta Psi chapter of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity and the UCF chapter of the Scientista Organization, which he considered a life-changing experience.
Though the Covid-19 pandemic delayed research of all kinds, Didier worked hard to stay on track and graduate in Fall 2022. In the future, he aims to apply his knowledge of biosensors to an industry or potentially try and start a lab within a national company.
- 2022 Order of Pegasus inductee
- 2021 3 Minute Thesis runner-up
- Office of Research Doctoral Fellowship recipient
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