DBI highlights research by doctoral students, postdoctoral scientists
Professors, researchers and students attend a lecture at the third annual DBI Research Symposium.

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3:30 p.m., June 11, 2010----The Delaware Biotechnology Institute (DBI) hosted its third Research Symposium at the end of May, to highlight the research being carried out by doctoral students and postdoctoral scientists.

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Organized by Tom Hanson, associate professor of marine biology and biochemistry, and Harsh Bais, assistant professor of plant and soil sciences, both at the University of Delaware, the day's purpose was to nurture the internal community of science at DBI.

“We wanted to further develop a feeling of an internal community at DBI, with the thinking that in the future, we will invite other professors and even industry leaders to join us,” Hanson said. “It was our intention to have it become a showcase for our students to practice communicating science effectively in a safe environment.”

That goal of practical professional experience was realized as the students spent the day presenting their science to each other, as well as the faculty and staff of DBI.

“The presentations were very scientific in terms of discussion, and that's what we wanted,” Bais said. “The presentations were professional, the students did a fantastic job, and a new collaboration between professors here at DBI was born following the very first presentation.”

The presentations covered current ongoing research at DBI ranging from the study of molecules and how they work, to computational analysis of molecular sequences, to plants and how they resist bacterial infection. All of these research areas, and more, are being studied at DBI.

“The symposium gave me a chance to develop my communication skills,” said Jennifer Hiras, a senior in Hanson's lab. “The atmosphere was really friendly and relaxed; it was easy to feel comfortable speaking in front of a group of co-workers.”

Two presenters were selected for best presentation and best poster: Shawn Polson of Eric Wommack's lab and Amutha Kumar of Bais' lab, respectively.

The end of a great day of research and community was celebrated with food, drink and fun in the sun -- with a volleyball competition between research labs at DBI.

“The friendly volleyball competition and social mixer at the end of the day allowed us to meet people we might see all the time, but may never have gotten to know before,” Hiras said.

The professors said they are hoping to continue the volleyball on the green at DBI and to enter a team in the Easter Seals charity volleyball event at UD in the fall.

DBI plans to continue hosting the Research Symposium as an annual event.

Article by Laura Crozier

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