By Wendy Sarubbi | May 27, 2011 1:36 pm

Seven young scientists from the College of Medicine’s Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences were honored recently at the Showcase of Undergraduate Research Excellence (SURE). This poster-based forum enables undergraduates from all academic disciplines to present their research and creative projects to the broader university community.

Burnett school winners in two Life Sciences categories were:

Life Sciences I

First Place: Sabikha Alam, “Stress Hormone Influence on Cardiac Conduction System Development: Evidence for Retinoic Acid-Dependent Mechanisms of Regulation.” Mentor: Dr. Steven Ebert.

Second Place: Alexander Fagenson, “A Class of Biometallo-Organic Compounds that Target Human Topoisomerase II.” Mentor: Dr. Mark Muller.

Honorable Mention: Lee Barker, “Nutritional Enhancement of Vitamin E Content in Lettuce through Genetic Modification.” Mentor: Dr. Henry Daniell.

Honorable Mention: Eric Goldstein, “Inducing Cancerous Repair through Homologous Recombination Using Topoisomerase II Poisons.” Mentor: Dr. Mark Muller.

Life Sciences II

Second Place: Alana Persaud, “Longitudinal Genetic Analyses of Staphylococcus Aureus Reveal Variability between Nasal Carriage Strains, as well as Similarity to Epidemic Isolates.” Mentor: Dr. Alexander Cole.

Honorable Mention: Sarah Lawand, “Structural Homology Between the Scaffold Proteins ABRO1 and ABRAXAS Suggests They May Share the Same Interacting Polypeptides.” Mentor: Dr. Antonis Zervos.

Honorable Mention: Neyda Vanbennekom, “The Role of the Unfolded Protein Response in Cholera Intoxication.” Mentor: Dr. Ken Teter.

Through SURE, undergraduates select a research topic, research previous studies, establish a hypothesis, design and conduct experiments using sophisticated modern technology, analyze their findings and then prepare a presentation of their conclusions, said Dr. Ebert. In the process, they gain experience that will help them in future academic endeavors “such as graduate or medical school” and also in presenting at national and international scientific conferences.

“It’s a great experience for these students,” he said. “For many, it’s their first foray into the scientific environment where they are learning first-hand.”

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