UD student takes top honors at national conference
Michael Holder with the ABRCMS award.
The University of Delaware group at November's ABRCMS conference.

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3:05 p.m., Dec. 3, 2009----One of six University of Delaware students who participated in the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) held last month in Phoenix, Ariz., received top honors for his poster presentation.

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Michael Holder, a senior exercise sciences major in the Department of Health, Nutrition and Exercise Sciences and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute NUCLEUS scholar at UD, was honored in the physiological sciences category for his presentation “Normotensive Salt Resistant Individuals and the Nighttime Dip in Blood Pressure.” His research mentor is William Farquhar, associate professor in the department.

This was the fourth year in a row that a student from University of Delaware has won an award at the conference. There were approximately 3,000 conference attendees with 1,215 student biomedical research presenters.

Other HHMI NUCLEUS scholars that attended and presented at this year's conference included Danielle Toupo, junior quantitative biology major; Devan Turner, junior chemistry major; David Marsan, junior biochemistry major; Wuroh Timbo, junior biological sciences major and Honors Program student; and Wachen Peters, junior Department of Defense scholar from Lincoln University.

The students were accompanied by Jacqueline Aldridge, HHMI Bridges and HHMI NUCLEUS program director; Carlton Cooper, assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and HHMI NUCLEUS advisory board member; and Christina Bussie, HHMI NUCLEUS graduate intern and second-year graduate student in the counseling in higher education master's degree program.

ABRCMS is a scientific forum that provides an opportunity for minority students and their advocates to convene and present their research to an audience of their peers. It is also encouraged that students, faculty and program directors network with each other to take advantage of opportunities to advance in the various scientific disciplines.

Hundreds of schools displayed exhibits to present their graduate programs, post-doctoral programs and summer undergraduate research opportunities. The emphasis on networking was evident at this year's conference as some of the new changes were a session in which individuals could meet and network with their individual disciplinary professional societies.

Exhibitors said they were pleased that UD students took advantage of this opportunity, so much so that it was mentioned that UD students were the only students that offered business cards to their colleagues.

The conference keynote address was by Mae Jemison, the first woman of color to go into space and the founder of the Jemison Group and BioSentient Corp. Tyrone Haynes, a professor at the University of California Berkeley, presented a talk titled “From Silent Spring to Silent Night: What Have We Learned” about the harmful effect of pesticides in the water supply.

Aldridge said the experience “was uplifting and fun, as many of this year's attendees from UD had never previously been to Phoenix. The students and staff alike left the conference inspired and energized about their individual endeavors and future possibilities.”

She added, “With the academic, professional and personal development workshops and the constant encouragement from conference organizers and attendees, the ABRCMS conference was truly a highlight in the group's pursuits. The information and inspiration gained from this conference will not be soon forgotten.”

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