Despite the rainy start on Saturday, October 22nd, three students and three chemistry professors from Ursinus College traveled to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) for the 19th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium in the Chemical and Biological Sciences. The symposium is sponsored by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health (NIGMS/NIH) and hosted by the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the Department of Biological Sciences at UMBC.
Ben Allwein (BCMB & Physics ’18), Brian Van Dyke (BCMB & Chemistry ’18) and Jenna Pellegrino (BCMB & French ’17) accompanied by chemistry professors Amanda Reig, Ryan Walvoord and Eric Williamsen attended the research symposium to present their work. All three professors were judges at this year’s symposium.
After the opening remarks and welcome address, the morning began with a poster session followed by workshops on effective communication in STEM and ethics for scientists. After lunch, the afternoon continued with another poster session and a plenary talk titled “Host-Pathogen Interactions in a Changing Ocean: from Disease Emergence to Solutions?“ by Dr. Colleen Burge, assistant professor at the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology with dual appointments at University of Maryland, Baltimore County’s Department of Marine Biotechnology and the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s Department of Immunology & Microbiology. The symposium concluded with the presentation of awards.
During the morning session, Ben Allwein presented his poster, “Structural Characterization of Sup35, Rnq1, and Ure2 Cotranslational Prion Aggregation in Saccharomyces Cerevisiae”, based on research he conducted with his mentor, Dr. Dale Cameron. Ben’s work was supported by the Ursinus College Department of Biology and the National Institutes of Health Academic Research Enhancement Award Program.
In the afternoon session, Brian Van Dyke presented his poster, “Copper Binding and Reactivity of De Novo Designed Due Ferris Single Chain (DFsc) Protein Variants”, based on research he conducted with Dr. Amanda Reig during the school year and during the Ursinus Summer Fellows program. This research was funded through a NIH grant.
Jenna Pellegrino also presented her research poster, “Creation and Characterization of Rubrerythrin and Symerythrin Model Proteins” during the afternoon poster session. Jenna presented research conducted by herself and fellow collaborators Katherine Bell, Rachel Z. Polinski, Sabrina N. Cimerol, Ari Jacobs, Edward I. Solomon, and Professor Amanda J. Reig of Ursinus College and Stanford University. Her research with Professor Reig is funded by HHMI and NIH. Congratulations to Jenna for her second place award in her biochemistry and molecular biology section.