June 2010

The Undergraduate Poster Competition

Below, several undergraduate poster competition participants share their experiences from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology annual meeting. We also will be posting a video of the poster competition on the ASBMB website in mid-June.

Sarah Click, Linfield College, McMinnville, Ore.

Undergrad Poster Winners
UGPC Winners. From left to right: Tripta Kaur, Michael Fiske, Greg Banker, Cassandra White

My passion for science and determination to learn have led me to pursue a biology degree at Linfield College. I had my first introduction to research during the summer between my sophomore and junior years, when I worked in the lab of my advisor, Anne Kruchten, at Linfield. I spent the summer working on one of her ongoing projects in cancer research. Our work focused on metastatic cancer cell motility and we attempted to demonstrate a correlation between the expression levels of the actin-binding protein, cortactin and a cell’s ability to move.

Congratualtions to the Following Undergraduate Poster Competition Winners

Cell Signaling

Greg Banker (Best Poster Winner)
University of Wisconsin-Madison 

Jarrett Failing (Honorable Mention)
North Dakota State University 

Craig Kutz (Honorable Mention)
Minnesota State University Moorhead 

Kelsey Speer (Honorable Mention)
Macalester College 

Miguel Teixeira (Honorable Mention)
Brigham Young University 

Cassandra White (Best Poster Winner)
Mount Holyoke College
Michael Baldwin (Honorable Mention)
Brigham Young University 

Enrique García-Rivera (Honorable Mention)
University of Puerto Rico- Río Piedras Campus 

Christopher Wilson (Honorable Mention)
York College/CUNY 

Justin Wright (Honorable Mention)
Rollins College 

Tripta Kaur (Best Poster Winner)
Vassar College

Andrew DeVilbiss (Honorable Mention)
University Wisconsin La Crosse 

Vasilios Kalas (Honorable Mention)
The University of Chicago 

Virginia Kincaid (Honorable Mention)
College of Wooster 

Amy Styer (Honorable Mention)
University of Delaware 

Daniel York (Honorable Mention)
College of the Holy Cross 

Systems Biology
Michael Fiske (Best Poster Winner)
Lake Forest College  

Michael Jungwirth (Honorable Mention)
University of Tennessee 

Shuying Ng (Honorable Mention)
SUNY Stony Brook 

Brad Palanski (Honorable Mention)
The College of Wooster
Laura Sloofman (Honorable Mention)
University of Delaware 

Jennifer Son (Honorable Mention)
Vassar College 

Cancer is the most dangerous and difficult to treat when it is mobile within the body, and something within metastatic cancer cells is allowing for this increased mobility. Our goal was to show that cortactin expression levels are directly correlated with metastatic ability. Specifically, we hypothesized that cancer cells that are highly metastatic have more cortactin which may be responsible for the up-regulation of motility.

My participation in the 2010 ASBMB undergraduate poster competition was a truly unique experience. Although this was the second conference in which I have presented my research, this gathering was much larger in scale. I enjoyed sharing my work and interacting with other students and researchers from across the nation. It was exciting to see other students present their successful research projects and comforting to learn that others experience the same ups and downs while pursuing a career in science.

The lasting impression I took away from the 2010 ASBMB annual meeting was a realization of the vastness of the fields of biochemistry and molecular biology. For an undergraduate student like myself, this was an incredible opportunity to observe the arena where the concepts I am learning in class are being actively studied, tested and revised.

Greg Banker, University of Wisconsin Madison, Madison, Wis.

This was my first time attending an ASBMB conference. I was very impressed by the size and diversity of the ASBMB undergraduate poster competition. It was exciting to meet other undergraduates from around the nation and learn about the novel research that they are involved in at their universities. The competition was an outstanding opportunity for us as students to present our research and interact with other scientists from around the world. It was a great experience in the collaborative process that is such a critical aspect of all areas of research. I really appreciated the judges who volunteered their time to judge the competition. They were all very friendly and provided valuable feedback and suggestions. The highlight of the competition was having the opportunity to meet and interact with other students and scientists. I had a great time learning about different disciplines and areas of research that others are involved in. The exposure to a larger community of researchers made the poster competition an unforgettable and invaluable experience. I look forward to being involved with ASBMB in the future and I highly recommend the ASBMB annual meeting to other undergraduate students who are involved in scientific research.

Cassandra White, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Mass.

The 2010 ASBMB annual meeting was my first time attending a large scientific conference. It turned out to be an invaluable opportunity to not only display my own research in the DNA/RNA field, but also to learn about many other fields of science. The lectures and poster sessions were particularly engaging, as they gave me insight into what sort of research questions each field is examining. By listening to presentations, I was able to zone in on topics I found interesting and could potentially pursue in the future. Participation in the undergraduate poster competition was also a delightful experience. I had the opportunity to walk around and learn about other undergraduates’ research, meet other students and learn about their college life and future career goals. I also gained valuable presentation experience through giving clear explanations of my project to other undergraduates and knowledgeable judges.

Before we left Anaheim, my research-mates and I had a lot of fun attending the "Young Experimental Scientists Mixer." I thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie among scientists across generations. Back home at Mount Holyoke College, I am still trying to decide whether to pursue a M.D. or a Ph.D. degree. One thing I do know is that I am excitedly looking forward to attending future ASBMB conferences!

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