UD students present at annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students
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.”
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.