11 UD students honored at regional undergrad research symposium
First- and second-place winners include (front, from left) Katy Teixeira, Laura Sloofman, Stephanie Myrick, Yianna Antonopoulos, Diniece Barron and Patricia Timothee; and (back from left) Tyler Bazzoli, Stephen Tereniak, Tejal Naik, Obinna Mmagu and Sohil Golwala.
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4:17 p.m., Nov. 6, 2008----More than 200 students from 44 East Coast colleges converged on the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, on Saturday, Oct. 11, for the 11th annual Undergraduate Research Symposium in the Chemical and Biological Sciences. Eleven students from the University of Delaware received first- or second-place awards at the event.

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A variety of funding sources and programs supported the research of the 14 UD participants, including the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Undergraduate Science Education, Chemistry Alumni Scholars, NUCLEUS, McNair program, National Science Foundation EPSCoR, National Institutes of Health INBRE and IGERT, and Science and Engineering Scholars.

“Conferences like this provide students not only with valuable experience in presenting their research but also with networking opportunities and the opportunity for personal and professional development,” NUCLEUS program coordinator Jacqueline Aldridge said.

Uhlas Naik, professor of biological sciences with joint appointments in chemical engineering and chemistry and biochemistry, attended as both faculty member and parent. Naik has advised a number of undergraduates in his laboratory during the past 10 years. This year, he attended the conference to support his son, Tejal, a sophomore working in Prof. Patricia Martin-DeLeon's laboratory.

“I was amazed to see the sheer number of participants and their enthusiasm,” he said. “I was also pleasantly surprised by the quality of research posters presented. The students were poised and professional in presenting their work, and it appeared that they were ready to take on the task of graduate studies and excel. Seeing our students win first and second place was very satisfying.”

Michelle Parent, assistant professor of medical technology and biological sciences, believes that delivering research presentations at conferences is an important part of undergraduates' development as scientists. “It allows them to refine their critical thinking and provides them with insight into what it means to be a scientist,” she said. “These events also expose students to different and diverse viewpoints.”

The following students won awards at the conference:

Katy Teixeira, a senior biology major working with Deni Galileo, associate professor of biological sciences, received a first place in biological sciences for her poster presentation, “Quantitative Analysis of Breast Cancer Metastasis to Brain.”

Laura Sloofman, a senior quantitative biology major working with Catherine Kirn-Safran, assistant professor of biological sciences, received a second place in biological sciences for her poster presentation, “Effects of Diminished Protein Synthesis on Bone Anabolic Response to Load in RPL29-deficient Mice.”

Tyler Bazzoli, a junior biochemistry major working with Steven Brown, Willis Harrington Professor of chemistry and biochemistry, received a first place in chemical sciences for his poster presentation, “Identifying Biomarkers of the MHC Gene to Investigate Chemosensory Discrimination.”

Stephanie Myrick, a senior biochemistry major working with Millicent Sullivan, assistant professor of chemical engineering, received a first place in biochemistry and molecular biology for her poster presentation, “Design of a Cell-Responsive De-PEGylation DNA Delivery System.”

Stephen Tereniak, a senior chemistry major working with Charles Riordan, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, received a first place in chemical sciences for his poster presentation, “Synthesis and Characterization of a New 'PSiPr2' Ligand and [PSiPr2NiCl]BPh4 for Coordination Chemistry and Bioinorganic Modeling.”

Yianna Antonopoulos, a senior biochemistry major working with Andrew Teplyakov, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, received a second place in biochemistry and molecular biology for her poster presentation, “Interfacing Shape-restricted DNA Molecules With Semiconductors for Future Biosensing Applications and for Single Molecule Investigations.”

Tejal Naik, a sophomore biology major working with Patricia Martin-DeLeon, professor of biological sciences, received first place in biological sciences for his poster presentation, “Identification and Characterization of the Role of HYAL2 in Mammalian Reproduction.”

Dineice Barran, a junior biology major working with Martin-DeLeon, received a second place in biological sciences for her poster presentation, “Acid-active Hyaluronidases in Mouse and Human Sperm.”

Obinna Mmagu, a senior biology major working with Daniel Carson, professor and chairperson of the Department of Biological Sciences, received a second place in biological sciences for his poster presentation, “Modulation of MUC1 Protein Expression by PPARgamma in Pancreatic Cancer Cells.”

Patricia Timothee, a senior biology major working with Randall Duncan, professor of biological sciences and mechanical engineering, received a first place in biological sciences for her poster, “Protein Kinase C Mediates Purinergic Receptor Induced Contraction in MC3T3-E1 Osteoblasts.”

Sohil Golwala, a junior medical technology major working with Michelle Parent, assistant professor of medical technology and biological sciences, received a first place in biological sciences for his poster presentation, “Characterization of Protective Convalescent Serum generated from Yersinia-infected Mice.”

Article by Diane Kukich

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