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Devin Burris is an EXCEL and GEMS member pursing a Biomedical Sciences Major with a Minor in Chemistry. Devin was recently selected as one of four UCF students to receive the Barry Goldwater Scholarship of $7500. The rigorous application is a chance for students in Natural Sciences, Engineering, and Mathematics to showcase their dedication to research and potential to become leading scientists in their fields. Many students that receive the Goldwater Scholarship get into top graduate programs of their choice and other scholarships like Rhodes and Marshall. Devin aspires to obtain a Ph.D. in either Neuroscience or Cellular and Molecular Biology performing research on gene therapies for neurological disorders. She has a passion for medical science and is determined to contribute to the field’s leading edge. 

Devin performs research with Dr. Charissa de Bekker on Ophiocordyceps fungus-infected “Zombie Ants”. She is creating modified fungi to uncover the genetic basis of the parasite-host behavior manipulation relationship. She is also in an NIH-funded 2-year long summer neuroscience program at The University of Washington in Saint Louis under Dr. Harrison Gabel. She is working on the deleterious mutations in a developmental protein ( DNMT3A) found in patients with Tatton-Brown-Rahman Syndrome (TBRS), an autism-associated disorder also related to Rett Syndrome. Devin is also the Vice President of the RSO Neuroscience Alliance and works closely with the Central Florida Brain Bee, a high school competition focusing on neuroscience topics.