A good starting point for finding papers would be to use google scholar and search anything published after about 2015 or so. I think you can changed the settings on google scholar to only give results that were published after a certain year, so you can view the most recent (and hopefully still active) groups who are doing research on cephalopods.
You might have more opportunities if you look for a lab doing research on any kind of cephalopod, rather than specifically octopus. There is a lot of genetics research being done on a few squid species right now, and one of the longfin squid species (Doryteuthis) has been studied for many years by many labs around the world.
If google scholar is not giving you the results you are looking for, your local library (if you have access to it) might have subscriptions to scientific journals or be able to pull specific papers for you by request. It's worth sending them an email to see if they can help.
Finally, if University of South Florida is the best option for you, I would email some professors there and ask about the research they do. A cursory google search led me to their "aquarium lab" page
. I would do some research and email Chris Stallings (the lab manager) and/or some of the PI's who use the shared space there (their contact information is on the site I linked). It seems like the aquarium lab is a shared lab space that is set up for a wide variety of marine organisms, and can be adapted to fit the purpose of the researchers. You could ask some of these people if they have ever had any cephs or would be able to house cephs. Make sure to do some research on what type of animals the PI's typically do research on and see if cephs would be a good fit for their lab. Most PI's get a lot of emails each day so it would be helpful for them if you had a few specific questions to ask, and had done some preliminary research on their lab and the research they do, to see if cephalopods would even be a possibility.
Finding research positions is hard, especially with an animal as tough to care for as a cephalopod. The best thing you can do is keep emailing people and asking around and doing research to the best of your ability and to try and make it happen. Good luck!