Celebrating Black Excellence in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering and Exploring Black History at UF and beyond.


Josephine Allen, Ph.D.


Associate Professor and Genzyme Professor of Materials Science & Engineering




Ph.D., Northwestern University, 2009

M.S., Cell and Molecular Biology (with Distinction)

California State University Northridge, 2002

B.A., Biology, California State University Northridge, 2000

Research Interests

Stem Cell Engineering, Directed Stem Cell differentiation, Cell Materials Interactions, Tissue Engineering, Regenerative Medicine

Josephine Allen, Ph.D., received her Bachelor’s degree from California State University Northridge, and her Ph.D. from Northwestern University. In 2010, she joined the Materials Science & Engineering Department at the University of Florida as an Assistant Professor and was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2017. Dr. Allen’s research is in the area of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, with a specific interest in controlling cellular processes including differentiation as well as understanding the effects of dynamic environmental conditions on cellular processes. Dr. Allen has received numerous awards for her work including the prestigious National Science Foundation, Career Award in 2015, and in 2016 she received the University of Florida Office of the Provost Excellence Award for Assistant Professors. In 2018, Dr. Allen was named the Genzyme Professor of Materials and Engineering. Dr. Allen’s research is currently supported by the National Science Foundation, The National Institutes of Health (NIH), NASA and the U.S. Army Department of Defense.

In 2020, Dr. Allen was elected to The American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) College of Fellows, recognizing her outstanding contributions in advancing knowledge of adult stem cells for vascular tissue engineering and in cardiovascular disease. Dr. Allen’s research group was the first to report the effect of altered gravity on vascular stem cell processes including differentiation and also the first to send a combination of vascular cells to the international space station. The AIMBE College of Fellows is comprised of the top 2% of medical and biological engineers, and election to it is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to a medical and biological engineer.

Dr. Allen recently co-authored the paper “Fund Black Scientists” calling upon the NIH and other funding agencies to address disparities in allocating support to Black researchers. In examining the racial inequities and injustices that prevent Black faculty from equitably contributing to science and achieving their full potential, insufficient federal funding for research by Black scientists rose to the top as a key issue. The paper appeared in the Jan. 26, 2021, issue of the journal Cell.

Tahara Franklin

Tahara Franklin

Academic Advisor II


Who or What inspires you?

History inspires me. My ancestors inspire me. My lineage includes slaves, sharecroppers, maids, cooks, teachers, principals and business owners. To learn how my ancestors advanced, even while experiencing systemic racism and segregation, is astonishing. Their tenacity, self-discipline, intelligence and ambition are qualities that I look up to and hope to embody. 

Who helped you in your journey to get to where you are today? 

My parents, teachers, mentors and Christian faith helped me in my journey. Although my journey is not over and there are still goals that I would like to accomplish, there were people in my life who definitely assisted me. I learned to connect with people who were accomplishing the things that I hoped to accomplish in my life. As such, I reached out to family friends, fellow church members or even older family members who already obtained their Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctoral Degrees, or were business owners. These individuals become mentors to me; people who I could vent to, discuss concerns with, and who could offer sound advice. 

How do you hope to inspire the next generation? 

I hope that I am able to inspire the next generation by simply being a mentor to someone else. I love working and volunteering with organizations that allow me to interact with young people, especially young people of lower socioeconomic status. I believe in the African-American proverb, “Each one teach one.” If I can teach someone what I’ve learned and the knowledge that I’ve gained from others, I can help promote a better future for the next generation.


Professor and Department Chair, Rolf E. Hummel Professor of Electronic Materials


Ph.D., Materials Science and Engineering, Northwestern University, 2007

B.S., Materials Science and Engineering, University of Florida

Research Interests

Thermodynamics, Kinetics, Materials Design, Metallurgy Mechanical Behavior, Composites, Metallic Biomaterials, Nuclear Materials

Michele Manuel, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized leader and expert in light metals, design and computational methodologies for materials development and materials characterization. She received her Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering at Northwestern University and her B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Florida. Prior to her return to the University of Florida in 2008, she worked for NASA and also served as a post-doctoral researcher at General Motors in Warren, Michigan.

Dr. Manuel is the first woman and also the first person of color to hold the title of Chair in the Department of Material Science & Engineering.

Dr. Manuel is the recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), NSF CAREER, NASA Early Career Faculty, American Society of Metals (ASM) Bradley Stoughton, The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society (TMS) Early Career Faculty, TMS Young Leaders Professional Development, TMS and Japanese Institute for Metals (JIM) International Scholar, NASA Group Achievement and the American Vacuum Society (AVS) Recognition for Excellence in Leadership awards. She currently serves on the TMS Board of Directors, director of the TMS Content Development and Dissemination Committee, overseeing all TMS publications, including books and conference proceedings, the Journal of Metals, Metallurgical and Materials Transactions A, B, and E, Journal of Sustainable Metallurgy, Journal of Electronic Materials, and the Integrating Materials and Manufacturing Innovation journal publications. Dr. Manuel is also the principal editor for the Journal of Materials Research and has served as a principal, senior or co-investigator on over $25M in funding from a variety of federal, state, and industry sources on topics ranging from metallurgy to biotechnology to nuclear fuels. She has edited 5 books, published over 60 peer-reviewed journal publications, and contributed to over 100 technical presentations.

Erika Moore, Ph.D.ERIKA MOORE, PH.D.

Rhines Rising Star Larry Hench Assistant Professor of Materials Science & Engineering


B.S., Biomedical Engineering, The Johns Hopkins University, 2013

Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, Duke University, 2018

Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellow, The Johns Hopkins University, 2020

Erika Moore, Ph.D., is the inaugural Rhines Rising Star Assistant Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Florida. She defended her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University in May of 2018. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University in 2013. Dr. Moore’s work broadly focuses on understanding how immune cells can be leveraged to enhance tissue regeneration.

Under the guidance of Dr. Jennifer L. West at Duke University, Dr. Moore’s thesis focused on the use of macrophages, innate immune cells, to support vascularized engineered tissue. This work has been published in the Annals of Biomedical Engineering, Advanced Biosystems, and the journal of Regenerative Engineering and Translational Medicine. Dr. Moore was also awarded the Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation award from Duke University for this work. Dr. Moore also worked as the Provost’s Post-Doctoral Fellow and a visiting professor at the Johns Hopkins University in the Department of Biomedical Engineering until June 2020. Working with Dr. Jennifer H. Elisseeff, Dr. Moore focused on profiling B cell responses to injury in small animal models. Ongoing research efforts of the Moore Lab seek to develop materials capable of directing immune cells towards desired clinical outcomes as well as developing in vitro tissue models to profile immune cell-blood vessel interactions in clinically relevant disease settings.

Dr. Moore was recently recognized as a Forbes 30 Under 30 in the Healthcare category and is a former Trustee on the Duke Board of Trustees. She has been awarded the KL2 National Institutes of Health Training grant through the UF Clinical and Translational Science Institute, a Space Research Initiative grant, the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and the Ford Foundation Fellowship.

Celebrating Black History at UF


Timeline of the Black student experience from 1958 – present



George Starke, Jr. talks about his experiences being the first Black student at UF during the spring 2019 commencement ceremony where he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws. 



Student-produced documentary featuring UF alumni, students, faculty and staff discussing the origins and importance of the Institute of Black Culture at UF. Funded by the Office of the Provost.


Stephan MickleRemembering Stephan Mickle, the first African-American to earn an undergraduate degree at UF

 In addition to being the first to earn an undergraduate degree from UF in 1965, he was among the first seven African-American students to integrate the university in 1962. Read more …