Delegates attend biomedical research conference for minorities

Fri, 11/22/2013

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Ashley Urban
Office for Diversity in Science Training
785-864-7316

LAWRENCE — Eight University of Kansas delegates attended the 2013 Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS), which was Nov. 13-16 in Nashville. Delegates included eight students, three faculty from mathematics, molecular biosciences and pharmaceutical chemistry, and four staff from the Office for Diversity in Science Training, Graduate Studies and the Center for Undergraduate Research.

More than 3,300 students, faculty and administrators from across the country attended the conference, and 1,800 students participated in oral and poster research presentations. Only 250 received ABRCMS travel awards to attend the conference, and 180 presentation awards were given for undergraduate and graduate student presentations.

Four of the students received ABRCMS travel awards to attend the conference. Jenaqua Hairston, KU Post Baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP), was recognized with a presentation award in biochemistry.

KU students attending the conference are listed below by hometown and are also identified by level in school and major. If the student received a travel scholarship, gave a presentation or won an award that is also noted.

  • Marvin Stops, of Billings, Mont., is a senior at Haskell Indian Nations University studying environmental science. Stops is part of the Bridge Program working with Cory Berkland, professor of chemical and petroleum engineering. Stops is affiliated with the Crow Tribe. He presented his research on “Cellular Response of Seeded Stem Cells on Methacrylate Hyaluronic Acid Hydrogels.”
  • Christopher Trezza, of Smithtown, N.Y., is a senior at KU studying microbiology. Trezza is a scholar with the Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) working with Matthew Buechner, associate professor of molecular biosciences. Trezza presented his research on “The Genetics of the Maintenance of Single-Celled Tube Diameter in C. elegans.”
  • Jenaqua Hairston has a bachelor of science in biology from Hampton University. Hairston is part of PREP working with Jackob Moskovitz, associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology. He presented his research on “Oxidation of C-terminal Protected Methionine by Hypochlorous Acid.” He attended the conference with support of an ABRCMS Travel Scholarship.
  • Simon Kelow has a bachelor of science in physics and astronomy from Northern Arizona University. Kelow is part of PREP working with John Karanicolas, assistant professor of molecular biosciences.  Kelow presented his research “Computational Methods to Identify New Inhibitors of protein-protein Interactions.” He attended the conference with support of an ABRCMS Travel Scholarship.
  • Sarena Senegal of Lake Charles, La., has a bachelor of science in chemistry (biochemistry) from Northwestern State University. Senegal is part of PREP working with Liang Xu, associate professor of molecular biosciences, and Paul Hanson, professor of chemistry. Senegal presented her research “Screening of Novel Compounds as Potential Inhibitors of Hu Antigen R-mRNA Binding Patterns.” She attended the conference with support of an ABRCMS Travel Scholarship.
  • Isaac Nzuki has a bachelor of arts in applied behavioral science from KU. Nzuki is part of PREP working with Pam Neidert, assistant professor of applied behavioral science. Nzuki presented his research “Vicarious Reinforcement: An Experimental Analysis of Potential Side Effects.” He attended the conference with support of an ABRCMS Travel Scholarship.
  • Alexander Fondaw, of Wichita, is a senior at KU studying biochemistry. Fondaw is an IMSD working with John Karanicolas, assistant professor of molecular biosciences.
  • Randi Cheatham has a bachelor of arts in psychology from Spelman College. Cheatham is part of PREP working with Paula Fite, assistant professor of applied behavioral science.


This week, we featured Sukhindervir Sandhu and how he is using an undergrad research award to make discoveries. What exactly is he researching? Watch this video to learn how Sandhu is using virus-induced gene silencing to make plants act differently. Tags: #KUdiscoveries #KUresearch #Plants #Genes #Biology

KU student tricks monkey flower into growing protective ‘hair’ Thanks to a KU Undergraduate Research Award (see more at http://ugresearch.ku.edu/student/fund/ugra), Sukhindervir Sandhu, a KU junior in biochemistry, figured out which genetic button to push to get a monkey flower, or Mimulus guttatus, to grow protective trichomes, or plant hair. Sandhu was able to track it down to a gene called SKP-1. By silencing SKP-1, he discovered that gene regulates plant hair growth in monkey flowers.


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