UD's undergraduate affiliate of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) receives the Outstanding Chapter Award for the Northeast Region.

Student research success

UD undergraduates honored at national biology, biochemistry conference

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12:42 p.m., May 3, 2012--University of Delaware students received numerous awards, including a second consecutive first-place honor for senior Michael Brister, at the annual conference of the Experimental Biology Meeting, held this year in San Diego.

As part of the conference, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) sponsored its 16th Undergraduate Poster Competition, in which 18 UD students took part. This is the 13th year in which students from the University's Howard Hughes Medical Institute's (HHMI) Undergraduate Science Education Program have attended the conference to present their research, and they have won more awards than students from any other institution.

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"This year was no exception, with UD students receiving 20 percent of the awards," said Hal White, professor of chemistry and biochemistry and director of the HHMI program at the University.

More than 200 students from across the United States competed this year in four categories, with each category awarding one first-place and four honorable mention awards. UD students received four of those 20 awards:

  • Brister, a biochemistry major, Honors Program student and HHMI summer scholar, received his first-place honor for research he conducts in the lab of Neal Zondlo, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, focusing on proteins implicated in Alzheimer's disease. Brister also won a first-place award at last year's competition.
  • Soma Jobbagy received an honorable mention award for his poster presentation on novel anti-androgens and their potential for treating prostate cancer. He works with Robert Sikes, associate professor of biological sciences, and John Koh, professor of chemistry and biochemistry.
  • Lyana Labrada also received an honorable mention award for her poster presentation. She conducts research with Kenneth van Golen, associate professor of biological sciences, on the metastasis of prostate cancer
  • Christopher Wright was awarded an honorable mention for his poster presentation on the role of small RNAs in the aging process of plants. He conducts research with Pamela Green, Crawford H. Greenwalt Professor of Plant and Soil Sciences.

Also recognized at the conference were Allison McCague and Timothy Gilpatrick, who were selected to make platform presentations about their research and were awarded ASBMB undergraduate travel awards funded by the National Science Foundation. McCague conducts research with Erica Selva, associate professor of biological sciences, and Gilpatrick works with Brian Bahnson, professor of chemistry and biochemistry.

Three other students, Erica Boetefuer, Dylan Lowe and Sarah Stamm, also received ASBMB undergraduate travel awards.

In addition to the individual honors, UD's undergraduate affiliate of the ASBMB was given the Outstanding Chapter Award for the Northeast Region.

The University of Delaware delegation to the conference included five faculty members as well as the 18 undergraduates. The HHMI program coordinates and funds the students’ participation in these conferences.  

To read more about UD's participation at the conference and about the individual students' research projects, visit the website.

Article by Ann Manser

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