Division of Science Hosts the 2016 Undergraduate Science Symposium

Written by Jena Pitman-Leung.


The Division of Science Graduate Affairs group hosted the 2nd annual Brandeis University Undergraduate Science Symposium on Saturday 17th, 2016. More than 60 students representing institutions from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire attended the event, which was held in the Shapiro Science Center. The morning session included research talks from faculty in the Life Sciences (Don Katz, Liz Hedstrom) and the Physical Sciences (Matt Headrick, Christine Thomas), followed by panel discussions with faculty in the Life Sciences (Liz Hedstrom, Bruce Goode, and Maria Miara) and Physical Sciences (Gabriella Sciolla, Isaac Krauss, Jordan Pollack) on how to apply to graduate school. The students then came together for a networking lunch with Brandeis students, postdocs, and faculty. Lunch was followed by a well attended poster session, where 38 students had the opportunity to present their independent research. The day ended by awarding prizes for the best posters in five disciplines. The winners were:

Biology: Rahim Hirani, Hampshire College, “The regulatory role of Beta-Arrestin 1 in prostate cancer cell proliferation”
Neuroscience: Paige Miranda, Wellesley College, “Metabolic Processes Driving Hippocampal Long Term Potentiatio”
Biochemistry: Myfanwy Adams, Wellesley College, “Expression of a Cardiac ATP-sensitive Potassium Channel in a Heterologous Cell Line”
Chemistry: Natsuko Yamagata, Brandeis University, “Exploring the Unexplored: Supramolecular Hydrogels of Retro-Inverso Peptides for 3D Cell Culture”
Physics: Jameson O’Reilly, Northeastern University, “A capillary-mimicking optical tissue phantom for diffuse correlation spectroscopy”

The Division of Science is committed to supporting local undergraduate research, and is excited about the possibility of these bright young scientist choosing Brandeis for their graduate study. We look forward to hosting similar events in the future!

Connecting with underrepresented minorities in the sciences

For the past six years, Brandeis has been participating yearly at two undergraduate-oriented conferences in an effort to recruit the best minority students for the life sciences graduate programs. These two conferences are: SACNAS (Society for advancing Hispanics/chicanos and Native American in science) and ABRCMS (Annual Biomedical research conference for minority students).

This year SACNAS was held at Anaheim, CA during September 30 and October 3. Professor Jim Morris and 2 graduate students represented Brandeis and interacted with post-docs, graduate students, pre college teachers, undergrads and other 300 exhibitors. The theme of this year conference was Science, Technology & Diversity for a Sustainable Future. In addition, SACNAS combined efforts with MAES (Society for Mexican American engineers and scientists) in order to make the experience more interdisciplinary.

For the past 30 years SACNAS has been holding this conference to enforce the underrepresented minority population in science to pursue advanced degrees, careers, and positions of leadership. A Brandeis SACNAS chapter was created over a year ago, in order to provide information and give access to professional tools to all the undergrads interested in pursuing careers in science. This year, the Brandeis SACNAS chapter was recognized during the meeting as a new chapter, and 9 of our undergraduates participated in the conference; 2 of them Angel Garcia and Kerwin Vega, presented their research in the poster sessions. You can also connect with the Brandeis chapter on Facebook.

– Yaihara Fortis

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