Juan Manuel Urueña was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. He later moved to Florida, where he earned his B.S. and Ph.D in mechanical engineering at the University of Florida. His doctoral research focused on the energy dissipation mechanisms of soft aqueous gels. During his postdoc, he developed microgels for 3D bioprinting and designed infrastructure to support long-term, continuous in vitro cell and tissue culture in 3D. He joined the NSF BioPACIFIC MIP to engage in collaborative research focused on soft bio-derived materials discovery and to expand 3D manufacturing techniques for new biological and bio-inspired materials.