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September 27, 2018

Gregory Hudalla: 2018 Early Career Award recipient

Written By: Staff


 Gregory Hudalla

Gregory Hudalla
Biomedical Engineering Assistant Professor and Pruitt Family Term Fellow,
University of Florida
BSChE ’04, Illinois Institute of Technology
MSBME ’06, PhDBME ’10, UW-Madison

Each year, the College of Engineering recognizes outstanding alumni during Engineers’ Day—a celebration of engineers, held on Homecoming weekend. Gregory Hudalla is among the engineers we will honor in 2018 at an Oct. 19 banquet.

After two concurrent postdoctoral research experiences, Greg joined the biomedical engineering faculty at the University of Florida in 2013 and quickly established himself as a rising star. He and his students create nanoscale materials for diagnostic or therapeutic applications. In particular, they aim ultimately to create biomaterials that can help treat autoimmune diseases and control inflammation. He also engages in local and national outreach efforts to interest students in biomaterials science.

We are honoring Greg for his excellence in biomedical engineering research and education.

Recently, we chatted with him about everything from his memories as a student at UW-Madison to his career and hobbies. Here are his responses to some of our questions.

Of what professional accomplishment are you most proud?

I graduated my first PhD student this spring. There is something truly remarkable about the process. You spend years with that person. You work really closely with them and watch them grow and mature and develop into an independent, creative, forward-thinking scientist is really impressive.

There’s something really special about having an opportunity to put on my Wisconsin regalia, and go to a ceremony in support of someone who has achieved an enormous accomplishment. Someone who put enormous faith in me and a trust in me that I could guide them to that point in their career, could help them realize that goal that they had. That will stand as a really important aspect of my career for a long time to come.

Who was your favorite engineering professor?

As a graduate student, you work really, really closely with your advisor, and my advisor was Bill Murphy. Bill has been a huge supporter, a huge advocate for me. But in general, there were a number of young faculty in the BME department during my time there. And you know, I was there for six years, so I had an opportunity to generate some really good relationships with a variety of folks that have lasted for a long time. I still interact with Professor Kristyn Masters and with Professor Justin Williams, now chair of the department, from time to time. It would be hard for me not to say that my favorite was Professor Murphy because of the impact that he’s had on my life, both personally and professionally. I think the relationships that I fostered with folks in the department have been really important for me developing as a scientist, developing as an engineer, and developing as a person.

What is your fondest memory of your time on campus?

My experience at UW was fantastic. I made friends who will stay close to me for the remainder of my life. But I would have to say that my fondest memory of my time on campus isn’t really on campus per se. My daughter was born when I was a student at UW. And that is arguably one of the most significant moments of my entire life. Of the three kids that I have, she’s the only one who was born in Wisconsin, and she prides herself on being the only Cheesehead in the family. She takes no shame in telling everyone and anyone that, she is the Cheesehead and that she’s unique from the rest of us. That association with my time at UW is easily my fondest memory.

How did your experience in the College of Engineering shape your career?

I had a pretty clear idea of the path that I wanted to take professionally by the time I had started in the College of Engineering. I went to grad school because I had aspirations of becoming a faculty member myself, but I think what ended up being really important was the opportunity to see various people in my department succeed along that career path firsthand. So it gave me a really clear picture of what it would take to succeed in that endeavor.

Is there anyone who’s played an major role in your achievements?

My wife, Mary, who moved with me to Madison. We got married during the time that I was at UW, and she was working in town. And she’s been there with me for everything. Had I not had her by my side, my graduate experience and everything thereafter would have been very, very different. And I will say with no uncertainty that my life would not be what it is today without having had her by my side that entire time.