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UD student, alumna make NIH presentations

Junior Nicole Barkley (right) reviews her poster presentation with Janelle Green, a UD alumna and nursing student who also presented results of her research at the Minority Trainee Research Forum, a national biomedical conference sponsored each year by the National Institutes of Health.
3:32 p.m., March 24, 2005--Two students affiliated with UD were invited to present their recent research data at the Minority Trainee Research Forum (MTRF), a national biomedical conference sponsored each year by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Held from March 15-18 at the NIH Natcher Conference Center in Bethesda, Md., this year’s conference drew hundreds of students, researchers and physicians engaged in biomedical research and provided a professional forum for the sharing of data and groundbreaking research in the field of biotechnology.

Nicole Barkley, a UD junior from Baltimore, majoring in biology with a concentration in biotechnology, gave an oral and poster presentation, "ERBB2 is Preferentially Expressed in PC-3 Cells Adhering to Bone Matrix" and Janelle Green, a 2002 UD alumna of the College of Arts and Sciences, and a current Biomedical Research Infrastructure Network (BRIN) program nursing student at DelTech, gave a PowerPoint and poster presentation on "Synthetic and Natural Inhibitors of Angiogenic Activity in Endothelial Cells."

Both students, who have worked with Carlton Cooper, UD assistant professor of biological sciences, on two separate research projects related to prostate cancer, were selected to attend and present at the MTRF based on their scholarship and commitment to biotechnological research.

They each received complimentary room and board during their four-day stay at the NIH headquarters and were among only 12 students from five categories (undergraduate, postbaccalaureate, Ph.D., M.D. and postdoctorate) selected nationally to attend the MTRF.

“The forum was very helpful for me,” Barkley said. “I was looking for ways to present my research, and I also learned a lot about other people’s research. It was a valuable lesson in science, and it was also good to see other minorities who are making contributions in biotechnology.”

Barkley, a NUCLEUS Program student who plans to pursue her education with a master’s degree in biotechnology before matriculating into medical school, has worked with Cooper over the past year on research related to the Weston blot, a procedure that examines the activation of survival pathways for cancer cells.

“I found the forum very motivating, because I got to meet other minorities who are reaching their goals, and this inspired me to continue with my studies,” Green said. The former NUCLEUS Program student said that the forum also gave her an opportunity to bridge the scientific and human aspects of biotechnology.

As a biology major at UD, Green worked with Cooper for two summers on his research using thalidomide derivatives to treat endothelial cells in the later stages of prostate cancer. She plans to specialize in oncology nursing when she finishes her studies at DelTech.

“Being invited to attend and present at the Minority Trainee Research Forum is a real honor, because the selection process is very competitive,” Cooper said. “Both Nicole and Janelle took the initiative and worked very hard.

“Part of the training [for biotechnology majors] is to present scientific research to other scientific researchers, so the forum experience was a win for everybody,” Cooper added.

Cherie Dotson, UD coordinator for the NIH Bridges and Howard Hughes Medical Institute NUCLEUS programs, said that she was equally impressed with Barkley and Green.

“The Minority Trainee Research Forum provides an opportunity for students involved in biotechnology research to network and share what they’ve learned with other researchers of all levels,” she said. “It puts them in contact with other minorities who can relate to their efforts.”

MTRF was developed as a forum to showcase, nurture and further train minority students in biomedical studies. It enables serious biotechnology trainees to share scholarship and research data in a professional and collegial arena.

MTRF is a federally funded program sponsored by the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity Management, NIH and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Article by Becca Hutchinson

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