Record turnout marks research symposium
During the symposium, which opened with a plenary lecture on Getting Graphic About the Science of Fat, by Dennis Liu, senior program officer at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, a record 97 students gave talks and displayed posters on topics ranging from Visualizing Breast Cancer Metastasis Using a New In Vivo Chick Embryo Model System, to Evidence for Hyal3 as a Murine Reproductive Hyaluronidase.
If you can meet the challenge of explaining science to an audience that doesnt have the background, thats a true accomplishment, Liu said after his lecture. Dumbing it down doesnt work; you need to appeal to their curiosity and show them how research is relevant. You can do that even for more difficult topics. Undergraduate research is really a keystone. Its important in training the next generation of scientists. The program here at UD is really a paragon. Its a great program.
The symposium was part of three-day "Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences in View" sessions and one of several end-of-summer undergraduate research presentations sponsored by organizations that provide summer research scholarships in life sciences for undergraduate students--the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's (HHMI) Undergraduate Science Education Program, UD Undergraduate Research Program, Charles Peter White Fellowships, Beckman Scholars Program, UD Chapter of Sigma Xi, Ronald McNair Scholars Program, College of Marine Studies, National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program and Biomedical Research Infrastructure Network Program-Delaware Biotechnology Institute.
What we are hoping to do with this is see if the new urban development projects are having an impact on the water quality and the environment, Demarest said.
Amanda Kilby, a sophomore animal science major, said she had a really great experience working on her presentation, The Influence of Mareks Disease Virus Transcription Regulator Meq on Interleukin-6 Promotor Activity.
I was actually surprised that my advising faculty member, Carl J. Schmidt, associate professor of animal and food sciences, selected me to do research as a freshman, Kilby said. It just goes to show the commitment that UD faculty have to their students. Its nice to actually have associated real-life experience with what you read in a textbook.
I now think of myself as a scientist; before this I was just a science student, Johnson said. It has been wonderful; I went on educational cruises with my laboratory partners. Its more than I could ever imagine Id get out of it. The professors were very open, helpful and friendly. Thats UD!
Colleen M. Cheong, a sophomore biology major, said the summer was not only more enjoyable because of her research on Developmental Expression Pattern of Calcium and Integrin-Binding Protein-1 (CIB-1), but an experience that helps undergraduates understand what research is all about.
The nice thing is to be able to focus solely on your project. Even though its a lot of work, being able to see yourself doing all the work is great, Cheong said. I plan on working o the project for the entire year. Hopefully, Ill stay with my lab until my senior year. Id like to do my senior thesis on my current work.
The symposium and the summer enrichment program, conceived by David Usher, associate professor of biological sciences and assistant director of the HHMI program, is designed to enhance scholarship-funded laboratory research conducted during the summer by undergraduate students in biological sciences, chemistry and biochemistry, medical technology, physical therapy, animal and plant sciences, and chemical engineering. The enrichment program includes a series of speakers who bring their insights about the world of scientific research to students during their summer stay on campus.
Through the Undergraduate Research Program, which draws about 600 participants each year, apprenticeships with faculty mentors give talented, motivated undergraduates a chance to see and take part in what is happening on the front lines of discovery. Every college, department and research center provides opportunities for interested students to do hands-on research.
Article by Martin Mbugua
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