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USciences Student Takes 2nd Place at Annual UMBC Research Symposium

By Lauren Whetzel-Siburkis

umbc group photoUniversity of the Sciences was well-represented at the 18th Annual UndergraduateResearch Symposium in theChemical and Biological Sciences held at University of Maryland, Baltimore County on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015.

“This is an excellent opportunity for students to present their research off-campus and in a very exciting environment with more than 300 undergraduate researchers from over 20 different states,” said Matthew Farber, PhD, assistant director of biology at USciences. “This is the culmination of the research experience where students get to share and receive feedback on their own research projects.”

Vivian Pham MedTech’17 took home a second place finish for her research entitled, “Development and Investigation of a New Fluorogen Activating Protein, J3, for the Production of a Protease Biosensor in a New Color.” She conducted her research under the guidance of Drs. Farber and Peter Berget, both professors in the Department of Biological Sciences at USciences.

This annual event – sponsored by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health – showcased hundreds of mentor-approved contributions from U.S. undergraduate students who investigated various aspects of chemistry, biology and biochemistry.

Pham was joined at the research conference by her classmates Donna McKeon BioSci’18 and Dylan M. Curry MB’16, who also showcased their research posters after months of hard work in the lab with their faculty research advisors.

McKeon’s research entitled, “Development of a MMP17 Fluorescent Biosensor,” used biotechnology techniques to engineer biosensors that were selectively recognized by Matrix Metalloproteinase 17 (MMP17)—a GPI-anchored protein that activates MMP2, to gain a better understanding of its activity.

Curry’s research entitled, “Identification of a Novel Yeast Species Isolated from an Urban University Park,” measured the local yeast in an inner-city park in Philadelphia to identify population patterns and to isolate potential novel species.

“The development of research presentation skills is a vital part of becoming a scientist and I am very proud of Vivian, Donna, and Dylan for their quality work, not only in the lab, but also in the construction and presentation of their posters,” said Dr. Farber. “They are already back to the bench, now with the opportunity to respond to feedback received from faculty and peers.”

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