One of the benefits of getting involved in independent research at Hampden-Sydney is the chance to present the finished product at a national scientific conference. In the course of a week in early April 2016, six H-SC biology students presented their research on both coasts of the United States! First, four students made their way to San Diego, California, to attend the 2016 Experimental Biology Meeting. Travis Goodloe ’16 and Jefferson Thompson ’16 presented work done last summer under the guidance of Dr. Kristian Hargadon while Charlie Kyle ’16 and Jake Rockenbach ’16 showed a poster based on their joint Departmental Honors project advised by chemist Dr. Bill Anderson and biologist Dr. Mike Wolyniak.
Jefferson Thompson ’16, Jake Rockenbach ’16, Charlie Kyle ’16, and Travis Goodloe ’16
Jefferson’s work explored the use of CRISPR-Cas9, an exciting new molecular biology technology, to edit a cancer factor in a mouse cell line model. Charlie and Jake focused on work originally begun by Chris Ferrante ’15 and Jay Brandt ’15 (both of whom are currently in medical school) that attempted to develop novel antibiotics for use on a series of pathogenic bacteria. Travis’ project looked at ways to use quantitative PCR to identify the presence of cancer progression in melanoma cells. The Experimental Biology conference brings together thousands of scientists ranging from students to established leaders in fields representing six different professional societies covering biochemistry and molecular biology, anatomy, physiology, pathology, nutrition, and pharmacology. The students, accompanied by Dr. Wolyniak, were also able to take in some of the sites of San Diego, including attending part of the San Diego Padres season opening series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Jefferson Thompson ’16 explains his project
Travis Goodloe ’16 and his poster
Charlie Kyle ’16 and Jake Rockenbach ’16
As the San Diego crew was preparing to come home, another group of H-SC biologists set off from campus to present their work at another national meeting. This time the venue was the University of North Carolina-Asheville, site of the 30th Annual National Conference for Undergraduate Research (NCUR). The National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) was established in 1987 and is dedicated to promoting undergraduate research in all fields of study by sponsoring an annual conference for students. NCUR welcomes presenters from all institutions of higher learning and from all corners of the academic curriculum. The conference provides a unique experience for all undergraduate students because it supports student achievement in all areas of study through poster, oral, visual, and musical presentations.
H-SC Biology was represented by two students at NCUR 2016. First, Mason Luck ’16 presented his work on invasive species conducted under the guidance of Dr. Ed Lowry.
Mason Luck ’16 presents his project
Also presenting was Christopher Hawk ’16 and his Departmental Honors work advised by Drs. Lowry and Wolyniak and identifying molecular markers for the rapid detection of fungal infection on hops plants.
Chris Hawk ’16 and his poster
The Biology Department is proud of both its California and North Carolina representatives to these prestigious national conferences!