UD's participants in the 2011 ABRCMS conference included, from left, Stacey Chambers, Jeffrey Lopez, Sharonne Temple, Rohan Patel, Alexia Hay, Michelle Francis and Angelica Montes. Kendall Poole is not pictured. Patel won an award in the conference's newest category, interdisciplinary sciences.
Rohan Patel, a sophomore majoring in quantitative biology, won an award in a new interdisciplinary sciences category at ABRCMS for his research on G-Protein Coupled Receptors, which are cell membrane proteins that transmit chemical signals into a wide variety of cells.
“I really liked that I was surrounded by career-driven minority students like myself,” said Sharonne Temple, senior biology major and NUCLEUS/McNair Scholar, of her participation at ABRCMS. “It provided me a great opportunity to build my professional network.”
Michelle Francis, junior medical technology major and NUCLEUS/INBRE student, said the three experiences most important to her at the conference were “having the opportunity to socially network with other underrepresented students in scientific academia, attending workshops that offered ways to help me grow successfully in my professional career, and listening to inspiring individuals of color who motivated me to go beyond my limits and comfort zone.”
Being able to speak with representatives from different medical schools across the country was one of the benefits of Angelica Montes' participation in ABRCMS. The junior medical technology major and Honors Program/McNair Scholar/NUCLEUS student wants to become a doctor, but also is interested in community outreach programs specifically dealing with cultural competency and health disparities.
Stacey Chambers, a senior human development and family studies major, and McNair Scholar, enjoyed having the opportunity to network with diverse students and faculty from across the country. “The conference helped to better prepare me for graduate school and future research,” Chambers said.
Kendall Poole, a junior exercise science major and McNair Scholar, noted: “The conference was more than what I heard and hoped it would be like. I had an awesome time and met some incredible people. I think the biggest impact was the relief of seeing so many other young men like me who are just fascinated with research and serving others.”
Alexia Hay, junior exercise science major and NUCLEUS/INBRE student, described the atmosphere at ABRCMS as “amazing. I was inspired by the number of minority students who have a passion for the sciences, which they showed in their presentations. It was a great experience to network with my peers who share the same struggles as I, and who, despite the rigorous curriculum that is a science major, still enjoy the scientific discipline they have chosen. It was also inspirational to hear all of the scientific and plenary speakers. To hear from those who have already gone through their undergraduate and graduate careers and have found success in their professional careers gives me confidence and motivation to pursue a Ph.D degree.”
Jeffrey Lopez, a senior from Washington, D.C., majoring in biochemistry, presented the “Behavior of D Dihydrouridine Synthase in Escherichia coli.” Lopez is a student in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and NUCLEUS programs at UD.
Accompanying the students were, from left, Tiffany Scott, McNair Scholars program coordinator, Jacqueline Aldridge, assistant dean of access and academic programs in the College of Arts and Sciences, and Kimberly Saunders, program director of the McNair Scholars Program.
4:32 p.m., Nov. 22, 2011--The opportunity to participate in the 11th annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS), in St. Louis, Mo., on Nov. 9–13, with 3,400 other students, faculty/administrators and exhibitors from across the nation, was “great” in more ways than one for University of Delaware sophomore Rohan Patel.
Of the 1,500 scientific posters presented and 115 oral research presentations given, Patel, a quantitative biology major in UD’s NUCLEUS Program, won an award in the conference’s newest categoryinterdisciplinary sciencesfor his project, “Structure and Dynamics of the A2A Adenosine G-Protein Coupled Receptor.”
Underdogs no more
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The University of Delaware's Christine Leigh Heyrman has won a top prize from the Society of American Historians for her book about the first American Protestant missionaries who traveled to the Middle East to reach out to Muslims in the 19th century.
Patel’s research, with adviser Edward Lyman, assistant professor of physics and chemistry, is providing insight into the structure and activity of G-Protein Coupled Receptors (GPCRs), which are large, diverse families of cell membrane proteins that transmit chemical signals into a wide variety of cells, and are the target of an estimated 40% of prescription pharmaceuticals on the market. By shedding light on the key sites of receptor-ligand interactions for the A2A Adenosine GPCR, the research holds promise for identifying potential treatments for mental afflictions such as Parkinson’s disease.
“The conference provided great information about multiple programs and schools, it was a great way to learn of different research projects and summer programs at various other schools, and it was a great way to meet other faculty and graduate students conducting research in similar areas,” Patel said.
Patel was one of eight UD students who were selected to present at the conference. The other UD representatives included Stacey Chambers, senior human development and family studies major and McNair Scholar; Michelle Francis, junior medical technology major and NUCLEUS/INBRE student; Alexia Hay, junior exercise science major and NUCLEUS/INBRE student; Jeffrey Lopez, senior biochemistry major and HHMI/NUCLEUS student; Angelica Montes, junior medical technology major and Honors Program/McNair Scholar/NUCLEUS student; Kendall Poole, a junior exercise science major and McNair Scholar; and Sharonne Temple, senior biology major and NUCLEUS/McNair Scholar.
The students were accompanied by Jacqueline Aldridge, assistant dean of access and academic programs in the College of Arts and Sciences, Kimberly Saunders, program director of the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program, and Tiffany Scott, McNair Scholars program coordinator.
Besides providing students with opportunities to present their work in a scientific forum and to network with other undergraduate and graduate students, as well as with college/university faculty, administrators, professional staff and recruiters nationwide, ABRCMS offered academic, professional and personal development workshops in which students, faculty, administrators and professional staff had the opportunity to be re-energized and motivated about what it means to be a scientist and/or medical professional, and an excellent mentor, instructor and adviser to students who are pursuing biomedical and behavioral science careers.
The conference also served as a “recruiting base” for many schools from coast to coast, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. UD’s Biological Sciences Department gained numerous prospective underrepresented minority student inquiries as an exhibitor, according to the event coordinators. The exhibitor hall featured 274 booths comprising educational institutions, associations, non-profits, federal/government agencies, and foundation/research hospitals.