March 2011

Focus on the ASBMB Undergraduate Affiliate Network

The UAN also publishes a bi-monthly online newsletter, Enzymatic, that covers UAN-related news as well as undergraduate biochemistry and molecular biology education. A regular feature of Enzymatic is a series of articles called “JBC in the Classroom,” in which contributors write about the use of primary literature from the Journal of Biological Chemistry to teach biochemistry or molecular biology.  The editor of Enzymatic is Marilee Benore, and Weiyi Zhao serves as managing editor. 

Joseph Provost served as the second UAN chairman from 2006 to 2009.

UAN awards

Beyond the annual undergraduate poster competition, the UAN has implemented a number of additional competitive awards, which are supported by chapter dues.

Undergraduate research

The UAN has a particular interest in increasing undergraduate student participation in biochemistry and molecular biology research to stimulate interest in the life sciences. The Undergraduate Research Award supports undergraduate students conducting summer research by providing $1,000 to offset the costs for supplies. This past summer, eight students were presented with these awards to conduct summer research. The UAN also has established a travel award to offset one student’s travel expenses for the annual meeting. Each regional chapter can nominate one student for this award.

Individual UAN chapters also may apply for a Regional Meeting Award to fund a small biochemistry and molecular biology meeting focused on the presentation of data and results by faculty members and their students. As part of the award, each region may give up to four additional $400 travel awards for students to present their findings at the ASBMB annual meeting. The UAN feels strongly that an immersive undergraduate research experience includes the presentation of data and results.

The UAN also has been instrumental in promoting incorporation of undergraduates and faculty from primarily-undergraduate institutions into the main platform scientific sessions at the annual meeting. In the past two years, eight undergraduates and 21 primarily-undergraduate institution faculty members have given such presentations.

Finally, the UAN administers the ASBMB Undergraduate Honor Society to acknowledge outstanding students pursuing a degree in biochemistry or molecular biology. Faculty mentors nominate junior and senior students each year for inclusion in the honor society based on their achievement in scholarly research, academic excellence and biochemistry and molecular biology-centered outreach activities.

Research-based education

The UAN has strengthened the connection of biochemistry and molecular biology faculty with high school students and science educators through its 7 – 12 Teacher Summer Research Award. This competitive award partners a BMB faculty member and undergraduate student with a high school science educator and a high school student to conduct hypothesis-driven research. These successful partnerships have provided both stipends ($4,000 for the teacher and $1,000 for the student) and unique opportunities for three high school teachers and three students during the past two years.

K – 12 outreach

Service to the K – 12 science community has become another focal point for the UAN. In fact, a number of awards have been earmarked for this purpose, including the Outreach Support Award, the Science Fair Award, the High School Research Award and the High School Scholarship Award. The outreach award provides funds to encourage local UAN chapters to promote science, technology, engineering and math educational activities. The science fair awards can be used by local UAN chapters to recognize excellence in BMB research by high school students. Each chapter can apply for up to five $100 awards. The final two awards have been developed to recognize and support BMB research conducted by high school students and progress toward a BMB baccalaureate degree. The High School Research Award provides $200 for a student to conduct research, while the High School Scholarship Award supplies $1,000 toward the pursuit of a BMB baccalaureate degree.

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