Ursinus Biology and BCMB Students Attend the Experimental Biology Meeting
This year the Experimental Biology (EB) meeting was hosted close to campus at the Philadelphia Convention Center where almost 50 Ursinus students were in attendance. “The Experimental Biology meeting provides an opportunity for our students to speak with scientists from around the world. It’s a unique meeting in that many areas of biology are covered – from anatomy and physiology to biochemistry and pharmacology,” says Dr. Rebecca Roberts, Professor of Biology. She organized the attendance of over 30 students through generous funding from alumnus Winnifred Cutler (’73).
“Through this experience, I was able to better understand the professional applications of what we are learning. This is not only in the various research projects that were presented, but the other parts of the “biology” sphere, including the industrial market for lab products,” shared Catie Wrinn (’24). Students were able to connect what they learned back to the Ursinus Quest as Katherine Wilson (’23) shared reflecting on how we live together, “I’m so glad I attended! The conference building was packed to the gills with posters, lectures, and events. I was exposed to ongoing research that hasn’t even been published yet, such as the long haul effects of COVID. I especially enjoyed a lecture exploring drug addiction in rats and how we might use the broader community to help humans with addiction issues.”
Under the guidance of Dr. Samantha Wilner, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Jesse Wun and Zenya Yanoff presented their research on “A Modular Approach Toward Controlling Stability of Oligonucleotide-Stabilized Lipid Micelles.” The lab of Dr. Dale Cameron, Associate Professor of Biology, was well represented. His research students Erica Kitterman and Seongchan Kim presented their work “Investigating the Roles of NAC and RAC in suppressing prion formation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.” Amanda Marley and Dora Zeibeki, also from the Cameron lab, presented “A yeast model system to study the human orthologs of the Ribosome-Associated Complex.”
Several students enrolled in BCMB452 (Biochemistry II) with Drs. Amanda Reig (Professor of Chemistry) and Roberts presented the research they’ve been carrying out as part of a Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experience. Cassandra Burke, Zachary Gorman, Rishabh Kancherla, Simbarashe Kanjanda, Sarah Symes, Zara Tabackin, Lindsey Thornton, and Mekha Varghese shared their work on proteins with known structures but unknown functions. They worked this semester in this class to determine that the proteins were hydrolases.
The location of Ursinus’ campus allows for meetings like the EB to be easily accessed. Our small, condensed campus is only forty-five minutes from the major city of Philadelphia, holding many opportunities for students to enrich themselves. With the support from the professors, students here have everything they need to be successful. As seen from EB, Ursinus professors work with the students to achieve goals together. The opportunity to connect closely with mentors is one of Ursinus’s many perks of being a school of a little over 1,600 students. Many goals can be achieved at Ursinus leading to greater things after college, and for these students, EB was just one of them.