Undergraduate symposium spotlights summer research with faculty mentors

August 02, 2017

More than 30 undergraduate students from Wayne State University presented research at the sixth annual Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium held Aug. 2 at the School of Medicine’s Margherio Family Conference Center and Scott Hall. The event was hosted by the WSU Office of the Vice President for Research and the School of Medicine’s Department of Physiology.

“The student research and accomplishment continues to be impressive, and the quality and importance of the research continues to grow,” said Professor of Physiology and Office of Medical Student Research and Innovation Director Joseph Dunbar, Ph.D., who founded the symposium several years ago.

The student-led studies were conducted during the summer with faculty mentors from a variety of participating programs at the School of Medicine, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, College of Engineering and more, including the Initiative for Maximizing Student Development, directed by Dr. Dunbar; Research Enhancement Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity, or ReBUILD, directed by Farron McIntee, Ph.D.; the Summer Research Experience Program, directed by George Brush, Ph.D.; the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience, directed by Daniel Walz, Ph.D.; the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, Department of Physiology, directed by Fei Sun, M.D., Ph.D.; the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, directed by Randall Commissaris, Ph.D.; and the Summer Undergraduate Research Program, Center for Molecular Medicine and Genetics, directed by Kezhong, Zhang, Ph.D.

The day included three oral presentation sessions and one poster presentation session. Awards were announced at the end of the half-day event.

The winners:

Oral presentations

First place: Brianna Schick, “Titin-dependent Auxotonic Cardiac Relaxation.” Mentor: Assistant Professor of Physiology Charles Chung, Ph.D.

Second place: Naveen Karthik, “Role of the chromatin modifier G9a in color photoreceptor fate decisions in Drosophila.” Mentor: Associate Professor of Molecular Medicine and Genetics Tiffany Cook, Ph.D.

Third place: Lena Bazzi, “Understanding Fetal Maternal Signaling During Pregnancy Using a Fetal Specific Knockout.” Mentor: Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology Jeyasuria Pancharatnam, Ph.D.

Poster presentations

First place: Gabrielle Gordon, “The effect of dreissenids on the biodiversity of benthic macroinvertebrates.” Mentor: Associate Professor of Biological Sciences Donna Kashian, Ph.D.

Second place (tie): Sherita Czajka, “Manganese, Mercury and Aluminum Levels in the Waters of Bell Isle.” Mentors: Christian Nwamba and Barbara Radecki. Idara Ubong, “Histological Evaluation of Nerve Regeneration after Invention of Modified Nerve Growth Conduit.” Mentor: Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering Harini Sundararaghavan, Ph.D.

Third place: Dominique Colvard, “The Effects of Temperature and Precipitation on Microbial Levels in Detroit River Water.” Mentor: Christian Nwamba.

150 years in the heart of Detroit