National Conference on Undergraduate Research 2012
The Office of Undergraduate Research offered nine University of Houston students the opportunity to present on their undergraduate research projects at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR). NCUR 2012 took place at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah March 28-31, 2012.
In addition to presenting at the conference, the students’ trip consisted of attending oral, poster, and performing arts sessions; over 3000 student presenters were in attendance at NCUR. Among the highlights for the students were the two plenary speakers: Mario R. Capecchi, a Nobel laureate and Distinguished Professor of Human Genetics and Biology at the University of Utah, and Anne Fadiman, an award winning author, essayist and editor, the inaugural Francis Writer in Residence at Yale University, and author of The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down.
A special thank you to The Honors College and the Office of Undergraduate Discovery Programs for contributing funds in support of this invaluable experience for our student presenters.
2012 NCUR -- UH Student Presenters:
1. Jon Casey Berridge “Determining Morphology of Interneurons Affected by Amyloid Plaque Pathology in APP/PS1 Mice, a Model of Memory Loss in Alzheimer's Disease”; Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jason Eriksen, Pharmacology
2. Mathieu Bosch “Synthesis and Characterization of Cu5V2O10.CuCl2”; Faculty Mentor: Dr. Angela Moller, Chemistry
3. Trang Duong “Adaptive Evolution of the Lactose Utilization Network in Experimentally Evolved Populations of Escherichia Coli”; Faculty Mentor: Dr. Tim Cooper, Biology & Biochemistry
4. Cesar Figueroa “Ultraflexible Neural Probe for Deep Brain Stimulation and Recording Device Physics and Circuit Modeling”; Faculty Mentor: Dr. Wei-Chuan Shih, Electrical Engineering
5. Katie Kirsch “Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) for Hotel Rooms”; Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jay Neal, Hotel & Restaurant Management
6. Shon MonDragon “Independent Resources for Information Transfer into and Maintenance of Information in Visual Working Memory”; Faculty Mentor: Dr. Bruno Breitmeyer, Psychology
7. Nicole Richardson “The Relationship between Health Literacy and Migraines”; Faculty Mentor: Dr. Zhiwen Xiao, Communication
8. Christine Sikes “Evolution on the Wing: 3D Printing as an Affordable Way to Rapidly Build Scientific Instrumentation”; Faculty Mentor: Dr. Anthony Frankino, Biology & Biochemistry
9. Dasha Tikhomirova “Conversion of Fibroblasts into Cardiac Progenitors”; Faculty Mentor: Dr. Robert Schwartz, Biology & Biochemistry
Jon Casey Berridge: "Seeing the projects that others were working on, even in seemingly disparate fields, helped me to think in a new light about my ideas. This is invaluable to a person who wants to work in fields where ideas are the common currency."
Mat Bosch: "My favorite aspect of the trip was the oral presentations I was able to see in chemistry. It was interesting to hear and ask questions about other students' research that I could understand and evaluate on a deeper level."
Trang Duong: "My professional goal is to obtain a dual doctoral degree in dental surgery and research. Attending NCUR gave me the opportunity to share my research experience with others, to learn about cutting edge research at other institutions, and to explore new options for my future career. Also the experience of giving an oral presentation at a national conference was priceless."
Cesar Figueroa: "The graduate school fair was one of the best opportunities the conference offered. The chance to talk to representatives from so many different graduate schools across the nation in a single room was remarkable. I found out a lot of useful information about many different engineering programs across the nation, and signed up to receive more information in the future."
Katie Kirsch: "During the three days spent in Ogden, I was exposed to research that I had not previously encountered, nonetheless deemed possible. It was empowering to know that my work was accepted among the numerous potentially ground breaking projects presented at NCUR. I gained a greater perspective of the scientific research being conducted across a broad range of fields. This knowledge will allow me to better understand the potential applications and implications of my future studies."
Shon MonDragon:"The atmosphere at NCUR is energizing. Being surrounded by so many other focused and hard working individuals is both refreshing and humbling. Those lucky enough to attend are treated to a great experience that fuels one's creativity and drive."
Nicole Richardson:"The biggest advantage to a conference like NCUR is that it prepares you for your career later on. It is easy to explain your research to someone within your field, but if you can explain your research to someone outside your field, it improves your communication skills, which is incredibly important."
Christine Sikes: "Mario Capecchi's plenary talk was very memorable for me. Last summer I interned in a toxicology lab that uses knockout mice as a model to study the role of aryl hydrocarbon receptors (AhR). Dr. Capecchi's development of knockout mice created an extremely valuable tool for research, and it was inspiring to hear the personal and professional experiences of the man that made my internship research possible."
Dasha Tikhomirova: "Through his conference I was able to network with other students that are doing fascinating research all across the country. In addition, the speakers that this conference sponsored both inspired me and motivated me to continue to do research and pursue a career in science."