Two from college inducted into national graduate honor society

Dr. Aria Eshraghi and Dr. Maite de Maria Mulet

Dr. Aria Eshraghi and Dr. Maite De Maria are shown wearing their sashes and certificates received during their induction into the Bouchet Graduate Honor Society.

A Ph.D. graduate and a faculty member at the UF College of Veterinary Medicine were inducted into the National Bouchet Graduate Honor Society during the 20th Annual Yale Bouchet Conference on Diversity and Graduate Education, held April 5-6 at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.

Dr. Maite De Maria, who received her Ph.D. from the UF College of Veterinary Medicine with a concentration in toxicology, is currently a postdoctoral fellow working in support of the U.S. Geological Survey. Her research has focused on the effects of contaminants and other stressors on manatees’ health. Now she is also expanding her interest in using molecular techniques to detect wildlife diseases.

The author of 13 peer-reviewed publications and numerous grants, De Maria has been awarded the Madelyn Lockhart Fellowship Award for Academic Women and Excellence Doctoral Dissertation Award. She has a strong commitment to environmental sustainability in her personal and professional life and hopes her work at USGS will aid management decisions regarding manatee conservation.

She was president of the Veterinary Graduate Student Association at UF and has led numerous research projects. She also worked with fisherman communities in Uruguay and even coordinated food donations during the COVID-19 pandemic.  She helps LGBTQIA+ groups to improve their sense of belonging to the community and work towards social equality.

Dr. Aria Eshraghi is an assistant professor in the Department of Infectious Diseases and Immunology. He performed his undergraduate and doctoral training at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of California, Los Angeles, respectively, where he studied how bacterial toxins bind to the surface of and traffic within mammalian cells.

During his postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Washington, he was the first to identify the toxins produced by a highly pathogenic bacterium called Francisella and describe their biochemical activities. Eshraghi’s burgeoning research program at UF is focused on understanding the details of how bacterial pathogens interact with their hosts.

Eshraghi has worked hard to ensure that his research group is trainee-centered and he is proud to mentor students from all walks of life, working together toward understanding the mechanisms of infectious diseases and development of toxin-inhibiting drugs. This has led to the discovery of multiple drugs that block the growth and virulence of deadly bacteria.

Eshraghi is recognized internationally as an influential microbiology researcher and his positions include board membership on academic journals and societies. He was recently recognized as a Champion of the Center for Undergraduate Research at UF and received the Peggy Cotter Award from the American Society for Microbiology in 2023. Eshraghi is committed to the advancement of students and science. He is a regular participant of the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minoritized Scientists, and his trainees have been highly successful in moving on to positions in industry, academia and professional schools throughout the world.

Edward Alexander Bouchet graduated from Yale College in 1874. He went on to be the first self-identified African American to earn a doctorate from an American university when he earned a Ph.D. in physics at Yale University in 1876. At that time, Bouchet was the sixth person in the western hemisphere to earn a doctorate in physics. He was also one of the first African Americans to be elected to the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society.

The Edward Alexander Bouchet Graduate Honor Society recognizes outstanding scholarly achievement and promotes excellence in doctoral education and the professoriate.

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May-June 2024

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