The Newsletter of the ASBMB Undergraduate Affiliate Network
Inside This Issue: 14 This year’s inductees to the ASBMB
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology National
ARTICLES Honor Society (Chi Omega Lambda)
15 Pouring from the BECUR once again: A recap
3 Throwing them off the end of the dock: of the annual UA student research
College freshmen at the 2012 ASBMB Annual conference
4 Effectively communicating your science at RESOURCES
Experimental Biology 2012
6 An undergraduate’s travelogue to EB2012 17 Graduate School Corner: Louisiana State
7 How to ramp up for an ASBMB Annual University Health Sciences Center School of
Meeting Graduate Studies
8 A rhetoric for research: The effectiveness 18 Book Review: Rosalind Franklin: The Dark
of open discussions during the poster Lady of DNA by Brenda Maddox
presentations 19 Molecules in Motion: Animated movie
9 Your guide to San Diego’s best fish tacos reviews
16 An interdisciplinary approach to science 20 UAN Committee & issue contributors
education: How undergraduates at the
University of Richmond are taught to think
Interface: The importance of
corroboratively in IQS
NEWS By Rebekah Waikel, Ph.D., Associate Professor,
Eastern Kentucky University
11 The 2012 ASBMB Undergraduate Poster
Competition Winners and Honorable Congratulations to all of the undergraduate
Mentions attendees, presenters, and mentors at the
12 The 2012 Outstanding UAN Chapter Award national 2012 ASBMB Annual Meeting. We
Winners had a record number of undergraduate poster
14 Inaugural Chi Omega Lambda induction presenters participate in the Undergraduate
ceremony held at MMM Poster Competition. Several of the articles
continued on next page...
in this issue focus on student experiences at addition to learning to write and speak about
EB2012. Tim Carter of St. John’s University science, a key to student success in reaching the
describes the experiences of his science non-science public is effectively utilizing the
immersion students, a unique program, which media available to them. In the past, popular
allows high achieving freshman to experience science books, magazines, newspapers, and
science at the national level. Student authors: TV shows were the ways scientists reached
Srona Sengupta of Johns Hopkins University, out to the public. Scientists today have even
Arian Frost of Colorado College, and Shannon more outlets to reach the masses, including
Biello of the University of Richmond describe social media: Twitter, Facebook, and blog sites.
their experiences preparing for and attending Most national science organizations and many
the national meeting, including some lessons science clubs have Facebook pages. These
learned. Ms. Biello also contributes an article pages could easily be extended to the general
about her experiences in the University of public. It is important for educators to show
Richmond’s Integrated Quantitative Science students meaningful ways to use social media
pilot program, which combines biology, to communicate science.
chemistry, physics, mathematics, and computer
science into one program of study. Educators in the ASBMB community are using
service learning to enhance their science
Student author Ajay Major, contributes two courses. Service learning is the teaching
diverse articles to this issue of Enzymatic, a strategy, which utilizes meaningful community
fun and useful article on finding the best fish service to enrich a learning objective/
tacos in San Diego and an article discussing the experience. Service learning is an excellent
importance of good scientific communication, way to teach future scientists to communicate
focusing on the “Effectively Communicating with the public. My undergraduate students
Your Science” panel discussion. Major especially enjoy service learning projects
reports that the panel stresses that science involving K-12 students. This past academic
communication is more than communicating year, my molecular biology students paired with
with other scientists, it is also essential to K-12 classrooms to do workshops on biofuels.
communicate with the non-science public. Workshops involved both oral presentations
and hands-on activities for the K-12 students.
As scientists, it is a given that we communicate This year, my students will also add a social
well with other scientists to advance our fields media platform to their service learning
of study. What isn’t as obvious to scientists is projects.
the great need to interface with the general
public. The non-science public comprise of the We are excited to include so many
majority of the votes to elect our politicians, undergraduate contributors in this issue of
who decide science policy and funding Enzymatic. These students are well on their way
levels for national science agencies. It is also to become effective scientific communicators.
important to have a science literate public, who
can make better daily decisions about their
health care and energy usage.
As educators, it is important for us to include
communicating with the non-science public
as part of our learning objective to teach
students effective scientific communication. In
Throwing them off the end of the make better-informed decisions about possible
dock: College freshmen at the 2012 career paths.
ASBMB Annual Meeting
Attending the meeting confronts them with
the hottest research areas, the best scientists,
By Tim Carter, Ph.D., St. John’s University
and the latest discoveries, all coming at them
in a tidal wave. In Zhu’s words, “like little E. coli
At this year’s meeting, senior Biology student
waiting to be transformed with new genes, the
Tongtong Zhu had three goals: help mentor
students first have to be shocked so they can
the six freshmen from St. John’s coming to the
better assimilate transformative knowledge.”
meeting for the first time, present at the UAN
student poster competition, and enjoy some of
The career session on MD-PhD training was
California’s famous sunshine. Failing the latter,
a popular choice for these ambitious high-
there was still plenty for him to do.
achievers. “I learned that I can be a scientist and
a human being at the same time,” said freshman
Having attended national conferences as a
Kevin Kaprowski. “I always knew I wanted to do
yearly ritual since he was a freshman, includ-
research, but I wasn’t sure whether I should do
ing two meetings of the American Association
a Ph.D. or an M.D. Now I’m confident that both
for Cancer Research and the ASBMB meeting in
options can work.”
Washington, D.C. last year, this time around, Zhu
felt like an old hand.
Besides the career presentations, most agreed
that the posters were a highlight, providing
them opportunities to engage scientists at vari-
ous levels personally. At the symposia, “some
of the talks are way out of reach for us,” said
Kaprowski. “It’s easy to lose the main message
in the details.” But as his classmate Sai Phyo
pointed out, “they are here first of all to commu-
nicate with their peers.”
After attending the Alice and CC Wang Award
symposium together, the entire group was
thrilled to be able to take the Wangs out to din-
ner and to see that even scientists at this level
are people who care about them as neophytes
This year, twelve undergraduate students from
and want to encourage their involvement in the
St. John’s made the trip to San Diego. Half of
them were freshmen. The rest were upperclass-
man who had been part of St. John’s science
The exhibit hall was also a hit, but for a some-
immersion experience since their first year of
what different reason. It’s all free goodies that
college. The idea behind this unusual model is
make exhibits such a popular activity for stu-
that by introducing the best students early in
dents. As one freshman put it, “it was really a
their undergraduate careers to the greater com-
mind-blowing experience to see all the compa-
munity of biomedical science, they can place
nies offering tools to help improve the ways we
their academic life in a broader context and
continued on next page...
Effectively communicating your
science at Experimental Biology 2012
By Ajay Major, Union College, Schenectady, New
From diverse talks revealing novel targets for
cardiovascular disease therapies to posters
lauding the success of STEM pipeline programs,
one common theme saturated the 2012
Tim Carter (sporting a double helix tattoo courtesy Experimental Biology conference in less-than-
of the ASBMB tattoo parlor) is St. John’s Univer- sunny San Diego: effectively communicating
sity UAN chapter advisor, teaches introductory your science.
cell and molecular biology to Freshmen and then
brings them to the ASBMB annual meeting with As Nobel Laureate and biochemist Dr. Paul
financial support from a generous alumnus, An- Berg stated in the session of the same name
thony Tufaro, M.D. organized by the ASBMB, “each of you in the
lab has to think more broadly than just your
results. You must think, what is the impact of my
Scenes from the meeting research, how will I report it, how will I defend
what I’m doing.”
Among the panel of speakers were Berg, NPR
science correspondent Joe Palca; Deputy
Director of Practices, Synthetic Biology
Engineering Research Center (SynBERC) and
science communicator, Megan J. Palmer; and
Huffington Post science correspondent and
neuroscientist, Cara Santa Maria.
Students presenting their posters at the annual
undergraduate poster competition. For most scientists, effective communication
means good grant-writing, approved journal
article submissions, and giving a helpful
presentation to fellow researchers and students.
In fact, these comprise only one portion of
effective communication. “Equally important is
how we present our science to the public,” said
Cara Santa Maria argued that “we have to talk
about science in a way that is palatable for the
general public. How does this affect people?
Why is it important for people to know?”
Participants at the 2nd annual HOPES workshop.
continued on next page...
Although seemingly simple questions, Santa This active engagement in the communication
Maria explained that scientists are hesitant to process also reveals one of the foremost
answer them when approached by journalists. misconceptions that scientists have about the
non-science world: the need to ‘dumb down’
“There is an old guard, new guard approach science to be understood.
to science communication. Scientists have
fear and uneasiness when talking to science “You don’t have to ‘dumb down’ your research to
communicators, especially when using speak to a wider audience,” said Santa Maria.
new media,” said Santa Maria. “But science “Don't underestimate your audience's
communicators and scientists are on the intelligence, but do underestimate their
same team! It’s a fundamentally important vocabulary. Using big words doesn't make you
relationship that should be nurtured.” smarter. It just means you can say more in less
time,” she said.
The panel explained that this fear stems
from the feeling that a scientist is putting The third and final step is to practice. “You’re not
his or her reputation on the line when going to be good off the bat,” confessed Palmer.
speaking to reporters. Ironically, this “But you will get better at communication
approach to communication leads to the very through practice.”
miscommunication that breeds this fear.
The panel agreed that reaching out to
“But, how do we do all that?” asked an audience journalists is an excellent way to practice
member. “Learn about the system, become a effectively communicating your science, but
better listener, and practice,” answered Palmer. was divided over the use of blogging and social
media as part of effective communication, with
The first step to effectively communicating Berg asserting that it was “self-promoting” while
your science is to understand that, for science Palca said it allows scientists to get their science
journalists, the heart of your science is the story. to the public “exactly right.”
To meet this need, scientists need to construct
a research story as part of their communication Blogging aside, it was universally agreed that it
with the public. is a scientist’s duty to effectively communicate
their science to advocate for issues that are
“You have to become a storyteller,” said important to the public and to enhance the
Executive Communication Coach at The scientific literacy of our culture.
Communication Center Nan Tolbert. “Not only
do you have to have good science behind your “People think science is a noun, not a verb,”
story, but you have to portray your science explained Santa Maria. “People think science
accurately throughout your story.” is why the sky is blue, rather than how we
The second step is to critically listen to good
communicators in the scientific community. Ajay Major is a graduating senior from Union
Joe Palca summarized the point succinctly: College who just finished a two-year tenure as
“Scientists: stop dissing scientists who editor-in-chief of the Union College student
communicate well with the public!” newspaper, the Concordiensis.
An undergraduate's travelogue to of San Diego just a few blocks from the
EB2012 convention center. Perhaps the best meals
I had were the huge breakfasts at The
By Srona Sengupta, Johns Hopkins University Broken Yolk, a local diner where you can
order anything from Tijuana street tacos to
Experimental Biology was my first national strawberry waffles. A filling morning meal
conference, large poster competition, and visit before very full conference days was key
to California. There were many exciting new because the convention center itself had
things to take in. Here is a summary of what I very few (and pricey) lunch options.
learned during my fantastic time in San Diego,
some of which I hope will be useful to those 3. Lodge atypically: Although there are
attending EB2013 and 2014 (when it will return many hotels around the convention center,
to San Diego). I stayed in a condo that my PI and her
colleague rented from locals. For three
1. Prepare well, stay organized, and learn: people staying six nights, this turned
When making your poster, start early, out to be much more cost-effective and
present it as a story, and be sure to practice comfortable than even the best hotel suite.
in front of faculty/researchers unfamiliar We had two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a
with your work. full kitchen, washer/dryer, balcony, Wi-Fi,
and a prime location within five minutes
The ballroom where the poster competition of the convention center. Needless to say,
is held will have hundreds of posters and my stay felt very much like a home away
presenters. It’s intimidating, which means from home, and I’d definitely recommend
practicing your presentation in advance is this lodging option if you can work out the
key to success. I stopped noticing the scale logistics in advance with your PI.
of the session once I started talking about
my work. After I did it once, I wanted to 4. Don’t drive: Unless you’re a local or live
present again and again. This turned out to less than an hour away, I don’t recommend
be really fun. driving to the convention center. It is
hard enough weaving through traffic and
Apart from the poster competition, the pedestrians on a typical day downtown (in
conference itself has more than 10,000 any city), now imagine adding ten thousand
participants, so organization is crucial in more people!
scheduling your day. The EB itinerary builder
(available free online and as an app for 5. Explore downtown: The area near the
smart phones) and the meeting program convention center was bustling with
you will receive on site are great resources activity and made for very interesting
to help you get organized. Jot down some people watching. Some of the more
notes about the cool science you will hear. memorable sights and sounds I witnessed
Be brave and talk to researchers whose work were rickshaws, bagpipe-players, girls
you enjoy. with taped-on moustaches (your guess
is as good as mine), and a toweled guy
2. Eat breakfast: As a food enthusiast, I very singing “Sweet Caroline” on a balcony at
much appreciated that there were many, seven in the morning. While this isn’t very
representative of all San Diego, I will say that
many restaurants in the Gaslamp District
continued on next page...
the downtown area is impressively lively How to ramp up for an ASBMB Annual
both during the day and at night. Meeting
6. Pack some layers: San Diego is not By Arian Frost, Colorado College
necessarily warm, and the Weather Channel
is not necessarily accurate. I over-packed Being a young scientist can be an exciting and
as usual but this time it served me well. invigorating adventure, but along the way, we
A jacket was useful for both inside the also face challenges, frustrations and difficulties.
convention center and walking outside at In my experience, research has been the
night. exciting and invigorating part of this journey.
The difficulties come with experimentation, and
7. Bring sneakers: EB is only 5 brief days. I by far the most challenging and intimidating
was on east coast time throughout my stay, part has been attending conferences and
which made it easy to wake up at 6:30 a.m. learning how to share the knowledge I’ve
and temporarily become a morning person. gained.
If, like me, this is a rare treat for you, take
advantage of it. Had I planned on this, I The first conference I ever attended was the
would have brought some sneakers for a North American Calorimetry Conference in
morning jog! Colorado Springs. At that time, I had only been
doing research for a few months, it seemed
Next year in Boston, east coasters won’t have like a cruel joke to have to present in front of
such luck. And those flying in from the west graduate students and senior scientists when I
coast will need to be prepared to adjust. If was still trying to understand the mountain of
your budget can afford it, flying in one day in data I had collected.
advance might be helpful.
If you’ve ever been to a music festival, the way
I was fortunate to have experienced San Diego you structure your day is very similar; you need
and Experimental Biology for the first time to put together a daily itinerary so that you
in a really fantastic way. How you plan and don’t miss anything talks or events.
ultimately take this trip will affect the quality of
your experience. To that end, I hope some of my At that conference I learned three important
suggestions will help you get the most out of EB things: that people are kind, it’s okay to say you
this time next year in Boston! don’t know something, and presenting a poster
is not as intimidating as I had imagined. Of
course, that didn’t stop me from being terrified
at the next meeting I attended, the Midstates
Consortium for Math and Science.
My most recent conference experience is
at this year’s ASBMB Annual Meeting in San
Diego. When I attended this meeting last year
in Washington, D.C., I felt overwhelmed by the
number and caliber of scientists at the meeting.
In D.C., I focused only on my own poster
Srona Sengupta is a graduating senior from Johns
Hopkins University. Above: Sengupta (middle) receiving
the 2012 Undergraduate Poster Competition Best Poster continued on next page...
Award in the Cell Signaling Category from Mark Wallert
(left) and Phil Ortiz (right).
presentation and didn’t take advantage of all A rhetoric for research: the
the other scientific talks and social events that Effectiveness of open discussions
the meeting had to offer. This year, having had
during poster presentations
three meetings under my belt, I felt much better
By Shannon Biello, Junior, University of Richmond
It’s important to be organized in order to see all
that you possibly can at this meeting. If you’ve
While on the airplane with about thirty other
ever been to a music festival, the way you
poster-holders traveling to the ASBMB Annual
structure your day is very similar; you need to
Meeting in San Diego this year, I overheard
put together a daily itinerary so that you don’t
an undergraduate attempting to explain her
miss anything talks or events.
research to a couple sitting next to her. Down
playing her research findings, she finished
Because the ASBMB Annual Meeting is part of
simply with, “well, it’s not really that big of a
the annual Experimental Biology meeting, it’s
deal.” Disappointingly, this is a typical response
possible to spend all day listening to talks on
from undergraduate students when asked
a wide variety of subjects including nutrition,
about their work.
anatomy, biochemistry, and physiology.
I find that large meetings like Experimental
There are also endless opportunities to connect
Biology (EB) are integral in demonstrating
with scientists in your field or in areas you may
the significance of even the simplest
be interested in studying in the future.
experimentation. A meeting like this provides
a forum in which students, researchers,
There are also endless opportunities to connect
professors, and other scientific professionals
with scientists in your field or in areas you may
trade ideas, and generate open, and
be interested in studying in the future. For
subsequently expedient, discussions.
undergraduates, the meeting is a uniquely
perfect environment to make connections with
For instance, Sarah Rhoads (fourth year student
your peers, as well as potential mentors and
at the University of Richmond), was approached
by a senior scientist during her poster
presentation who was interested in Rhoads’
I highly recommend attending smaller
research in regards to neuronal regulation.
local and regional meetings as early in your
After summarizing her work, Rhoads and the
undergraduate career as you can in order
senior scientist went on to discuss his research
to strengthen your presentation and public
in detail, exchanging ideas back and forth. In
speaking skills. And every student who
the end, the professor offered to send Rhoads
is interested in continuing in science and
his own research work. This is demonstrative of
contributing to the scientific community should
how potentially valuable the connections that
attend the ASBMB Annual Meeting. I hope to
are made at a large scientific meeting such as
see you in Boston in 2013!
Similar conversations permeated the
large exhibit hall of the convention center
throughout the meeting. Everywhere there
were students with anxious yet determined
continued on next page...
expressions on their faces, relaying their work Your guide to finding San Diego’s best
to an audience of knowledgeable scientists fish taco
who listened with attentive curiosity, positing
questions here and there in an effort to fully Ajay Major, Union College, Schenectady, New York
grasp the work.
The fish taco is a pedestrian treat, combining
This type of dialogue is necessary in the realm
the most humble of ingredients into a
of research. Scientists, both undergraduates and
scrumptious street delicacy. A chunk of fish,
tenured professors alike, benefit from coming
a smattering of sauce, and a dash of spice all
together in an atmosphere that allows for the
wrapped up in a crispy corn tortilla. And, let’s
fluid exchange of ideas.
face it, San Diego simply has the best fish tacos
a dollar can buy. Whether you’re paying your
An undergraduate attending EB learns that the
own way to Experimental Biology or have one
most important outcome of presenting research
of those credit cards from your institution, the
is to have it questioned and analyzed by other
fish taco is a smart and economical solution
members of the scientific community. From this
to your post-workshop hunger pangs. Let’s
open discussion, new ideas are generated and
embark on a culinary adventure across sunny
different pathways are encouraged.
San Diego, and all within walking distance of
the convention center.
Our first stop: The Fish Market (below), is just a
15-minute walk along the harbor.
The name is a bit deceiving—it’s a market, to-go
joint, and a formal restaurant all in one, jutting
Above: Judges reviewing posters at the annual out into the North Harbor with beautiful 360
undergraduate poster competition. degree views of sea, surf, and a real-life aircraft
continued on next page...
Diego’s best modern takes on seafood classics.
The grilled swordfish taco I ordered was no
exception (pictured below).
The to-go window (above), is chock-full of
seafood and fish fillets of every variety. I
ordered their signature crispy fish taco (pictured
Although a bit pricey at $14, the Escape’s fish
below), filled with Pacific Ono, chipotle ranch,
taco receives an incredible five out of five stars.
salsa fresco, and a bowl of black bean soup on
The melt-in-your-mouth swordfish paired with a
delightfully tangy sauce and pickled slaw makes
for a four-star fish taco. Even the side of potato
salad was delectable, a totally unexpected
blend of potato and herbs that married well
with the thick cut of swordfish.
Our final stop: The Tin Fish (below), is hardly a
stone’s throw from the convention center and
San Diego’s PETCO Field.
This fish taco from The Fish Market gets four out
of five stars. A total steal at $9.75, these tacos
have a surprising heat that is not for the faint of
palates. The Hawaiian fish is lightly breaded and
perfectly cooked, with a cool tomato salsa that
perfectly complements the spicy sauce. The
black bean soup, on the other hand, has little
to be desired; skip it and go straight for this
delicious taco, instead.
A convenient option for conference-goers, the
Our second stop: the Escape Fish Bar, is located
Tin Fish offers your usual seafood fare, including
right in the heart
their staple, the fried fish taco. Unfortunately, at
of San Diego’s
only $6.75, you get what you pay for at The Tin
Fish: a meager two out of five stars.
place is a true
joint that serves
up some of San
continued on next page...
The 2012 ASBMB Undergraduate
Poster Competition Winners and
Poster Award Winners
• Michael Brister, University of Delaware,
Protein & Enzymes Best Poster Award
• Caitlin Peirce, Hope College, Systems
Biology Best Poster Award
These tacos are bland and overly fried, the slaw
• Srona Sengupta, Johns Hopkins University,
is just the same old slaw, and the waffle fries
Cell Signaling Best Poster Award
are too salty. If you are strapped for cash and
• Rebekah Wieland, Mount Holyoke College,
time, The Tin Fish is an option; otherwise, make
Nucleic Acids Best Poster Award
the extra five minute walk for some seriously
Best poster award winners at the 2012 ASBMB Exemplary
Contributions to Educaiton Award Lecture. From left
to right, Donald and Judith Voet, Caitlin Pierce, Michael
Brister, Rebekah Wieland, Drs. Mark Wallert, Phil Ortiz, and
Follow UAN Honorable Mentions in the Cell Signaling
on • Amy Deng, Winthrop University
Kelly Folkers, Denison University
Soma Jobbagy, University of Delaware
• Emerson Khost, Marymount Manhattan
Honorable Mentions in the Nucleic Acid
• Jasmine Haller, Hendrix College
• Allison O’Connell, Colorado College
continued on next page...
• Sang Joon Won, University of Wisconsin- The 2012 Outstanding UAN Chapter
• Christopher Wright, University of Delaware
Outstanding National Chapter - Otterbein
Honorable Mentions in the Protein and
Faculty Advisor - John Tansey, Ph.D.
• John Chavis, University of Maryland,
• Kathryn Colelli, College of Holy Cross
• Breanna Kalmeta, Rochester Institute of
• Matthew Mauseth, University of Wisconsin-
Honorable Mentions in the Systems Biology
• Grant Barber, University of Wisconsin-
• Alice Cai, University of Arizona Above, Otterbein College students with John Tansey
• Nicholas Hazekamp, Hope College (right) receiving the Outstanding National Chapter Award
• Lyana Labrada, University of Delaware
South-Central Region Outstanding Chapter
Award - Tulane University
Faculty Advisor - Nancy Hopkins, Ph.D.
2012 UGPC Honorable Mentions. From left to right: Amy
Deng, Kelly Folkers, Jasmine Haller, Kathryn Colelli, Soma
Jobaggy, Lyana Labrada, Christopher Wright, Sang Joon
Won, Emerson Khost, Grant Barber, Breanna Kalmeta, and
Above, Nancy Hopkins (middle) receiving the South-
Central Regional Award from Mark Wallert and Phil Ortiz.
continued on next page...
Southeast Region Outstanding Chapter
Award Winner - University of Puerto Rico, Rio 2012-13 UAN CALENDAR
Faculty Advisor - Carlos Gonzalez, Ph.D. August 20, 2012
Southwest Region Outstanding Chapter ASBMB begins accepting online UAN
Award Winner - Colorado College membership applications and renewals.
Faculty Advisor - Neena Grover, Ph.D.
Northeast Region Outstanding Chapter
Award - University of Delaware ASBMB Education and Professional
Development (EPD) and UAN committees
annual fall retreat.
November 5, 2012
Last day to renew/apply for UAN membership
and still qualify for UAN Travel Awards to
November 8, 2012
Last day to submit undergraduate poster
Above, University of Delaware UAN students and Hal abstracts to EB2013 and still qualify for UAN
White (3rd from right) receiving the Northeast Region Travel Awards.
Outstanding Chapter Award.
November 30, 2012
Last day to renew/apply for UAN membership
for the 2012-13 school year.
January 31, 2013
Last day to nominate UAN students to Chi
February 8, 2013
Last day to apply for/designate UAN Non-
Competitive Travel Awards.
March 1, 2012
Last day to apply for UAN Outstanding
Inaugural Chi Omega Lambda This year’s inductees to the ASBMB
induction ceremony held at MMM Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
National Honor Society (Chi Omega
By Ann Aguanno, Ph.D., Marymount Manhattan Lambda)
• Meryl Brune, Drake University
Marymount Manhattan College (MMC) • Dan DuBreuil, Otterbein University
Undergraduate Affiliate Network (UAN) held • Amanda Fisher, Rochester Institute of
its first Chi Omega Lambda Biochemistry & Technology
Molecular Biology Honor Society initiation • Lee Gottesdiener, Wesleyan University
ceremony on March 17, 2012 for students from • Nisan Hubbard, Virginia Commonwealth
MMC who have been elected into the honor University
society. • Emerson Khost, Marymount Manhattan
Each year, Chi Omega Lambda elects students • Sophia Levan, Wesleyan University
who have completed their second year of a • Justin McNally, SUNY Potsdam
four-year curriculum, are in strong academic • Meagan Montesion, College of Holy Cross
standing and have engaged in research • Alejandra Olvera, Wesleyan University
activities and science outreach. • Emily Roblee, Providence College
• Sarah Russell, Drake University
Candidates must be students studying • Rachel Schmidt, Rochester Institute of
biochemistry/molecular biology or related field Technology
at an institution where an ASBMB UAN chapter • John Schmietzel, Vassar College
is established. • Johnna Sizemore, Eastern Kentucky
The MMC Chi Omega Lambda induction • Joy Snyder, Rochester Institute of
ceremony initiated two new members this year: Technology
Olympia Gaglioti ‘11 (elected into the society • Rosalie Sterner, Drake University
last year but not officially inducted until this • Julie Truong, Ramapo College of New
year) and Emerson Khost ’12. Jersey
Olympia and Emerson, both biology majors,
are outstanding students with multiple
years of undergraduate research experience
and community service. Olympia has also
completed a minor in French and plans on
attending medical school after she graduates.
Emerson is working towards a minor in
Mathematics and will pursue graduate studies
in Exobiology upon graduation. Honor Society inductees. From left to right: Johnna
Sizemore, Emily Roblee, Dan duBreuil, Emerson Khost,
Justin McNally, Rachel Schmidt, John Schmietzel, Joy
Both Emerson and Gaglioti are active members Snyder, and Julie Truong.
in the MMC UAN. They join 2011 MMC Chi
Omega Lambda Honor Society inductees
Raymond Romano, Laura Anthony and Laura
Herren, all alumni of the biology program at
Pouring from the BECUR once again: A (SSA), and Stanley Palasek. Rachel Wellington,
recap of the annual UA student re- a freshman Molecular and Cellular Biology and
Mathematics major at UA, served as a judge for
the high school posters. Wellington was part of
our first BECUR conference as a junior at SSA in
Jessica Jemmett, Anthony Louis, and James T.
Hazzard, Ph.D., University of Arizona
On February 25, 2012, the University of Arizona
UAN Chapter hosted its third successful under-
graduate research conference, BECUR 2012.
This year’s conference began with a short wel-
coming address by Dr. James T. Hazzard (UAN
Chapter and Biochemistry Club Faculty Adviser).
Two poster sessions were held on Saturday with
intervening oral presentations by Alice Cai and
Anthony Kendrick. In addition to the more than
30 UA and Arizona State University (ASU) under-
The organizational committee for BECUR 2012
graduate posters presented this year, we were
consisted of Anthony Louis and Jessica Jem-
delighted to have 11 posters from high school
mett. Assistance was also provided by Kenny
students at the Sonoran Science Academy (SSA)
Childers, Shiana Ferng, Jessica Li, Elina Ly, Nina
and Tucson Magnet High School (TMHS), most
Martin, Ashley Mason, Jonathan Merritt, Ni-
of whom have been working in laboratories on
rushan Narendran , Joey Quiroz, and Aishan Shi
the UA campus.
with Dr. Hazzard acting as Faculty Adviser.
The highlight of this year’s BECUR was the Key-
Thanks also to Olivia Mendoza (Undergraduate
note Address by Daniel Herschlag (Stanford Uni-
Program Director) and Betsy Eigenberg (Admin-
versity) whose talk titled “How Enzymes Work”
istrative Assistant) for their invaluable help.
covered the variety of approaches his research
group has taken to gaining insights into the
catalytic mechanism of ketosteroid isomerase.
Four UAN travel awards ($400 each) went to 2012 UAN Chapter Activity Posters
UA students Andrew Ma, Anthony Kendrick,
Feel Kang, and Jonathan Ferng. Four $200 Thanks to all the chapters that brought
cash awards were presented to Kyle Marshal, a poster to share at EB2012. We will be
Siddarth Pandya, Alice Cai, and Shiana Ferng featuring chapter activities posters again
through the sponsorship of Southern Arizona in Boston during the 2013 ASBMB Annual
American Chemistry Society Chapter (SAZACS), Meeting.
Research Corporation, and Ventana Medical
Systems. Additional support from UAN and See see this year’s UAN posters go to:
SAZACS funded six $50 high school poster www.abmb.org/uanactivity2012
awards which went to Ostin Zarse (TMHS),
Ochana Otto (TMHS), Augustus Woodrow-
Tomizuka (SSA), Kasey Crom (SSA), Joshua Sloan
An interdisciplinary approach intensive, collaborative program.
to science education: How
The overarching goal is to instruct students
undergraduates at the University
in how to approach science from an
of Richmond are taught to think interdisciplinary stance, taking relevant
corroboratively in IQS scientific quandaries and combining two or
three disciplines in an unconventional manner
By Shannon Biello, University of Richmond to reach unexpected, and often rewarding,
As children, we view science as a composite
term – a class that offers us Instead of dividing off into
reasons for why tectonic plates As adults, science is delineated into the a respective major track my
move, why the stars shuffle branching tributaries of disciplines. It is first year of college, I was
through the sky, why some no longer seen as an all-encompassing exposed to an open method
leaves are rounder than others, journey of why and how things work... of study in which answers
why water evaporates when left were not relegated to a mere
in sunlight. mathematical equation or
chemical reaction, but rather what these two
As adults, science is delineated into the seemingly disparate components could do in
branching tributaries of disciplines. It is no synchrony.
longer seen as an all-encompassing journey of
why and how things work; rather, it becomes As a group of twenty students, we were
more focused. A scientist becomes a physicist, challenged to test the ordinary method of
a biologist, or a chemist, and even these learning and to think about how the five
categories are too broad in the quest to find the disciplines could be related to each other. Our
perfect laboratory and define long-term goals. laboratory work was a mixture of culture plates,
program codes, algorithms, and fluorescence
In my college application, I knew I wanted to be spectroscopy. We identified a problem and
a science major and was perplexed when, in the attacked it with five different methodologies
small drop-down window, I had and simultaneously discovered
to choose between “biological I was exposed to an open method the necessity in collaboration.
sciences” and “chemistry”. It of study in which answers were not
never occurred to me, perhaps relegated to a mere mathematical Students realized their strengths
naively, that biologists and equation or chemical reaction, but within the group, finding
chemists diverge in their course rather what these two seemingly themselves more comfortable in
requirements and that I would disparate components could do in one discipline over another. This
now have to commit to a synchrony... aided each of us in determining
discipline. which science track to embark
on at the end of the program. My perception of
Enter Integrated Quantitative Science (or IQS), science as a collection of focuses was abolished
a pilot program at the University of Richmond I upon discovering how beneficial it was to blend
first heard about while sitting at an orientation the concentrations together in order to create a
event. IQS takes the five pillars of the sciences: more detailed picture.
biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and The University of Richmond is a member of the
computer science, and combines them into one ASBMB Undergraduate Affiliate Network.
Graduate School Corner: Louisiana
State University Health Sciences
Center, School of Graduate Studies
By Andrew D. Hollenbach, Ph.D., LSUHSC
Located in the culturally rich city of New
Orleans, the Louisiana State University Health
Sciences Center (LSUHSC) School of Graduate
Studies offers a doctoral program that prepares
students for a career in the biomedical sciences.
Through our Interdisciplinary Program,
core curriculum students are trained in the
principles of biochemistry, genetics, cellular
and molecular biology and taught how to apply
this knowledge to the understanding of organ-
based function and pathophysiology. Through
a series of laboratory research rotations,
students work with a variety of internationally
renowned mentors in a wide range of
departments, including Biochemistry; Cell Above, student presentations during Graduate Research
Day at LSUHSC.
Biology; Genetics; Microbiology, Immunology
and Parasitology; Pharmacology; Physiology;
and Neuroscience. on to productive postdoctoral positions at
institutes such as Harvard, Johns Hopkins,
At the completion of their first year, students Emory, University of Chicago, and Vanderbilt.
select a mentor and department in which
they will complete their dissertation research. LSUHSC is currently building a brand new, state
Alternatively, students may be accepted directly of the art teaching hospital that will facilitate
into any of our departmental programs. and encourage translational research between
our basic scientists and clinicians. For more
Successful applicants are required to have at information please visit our web site: http://
least a 3.0 GPA (on a 4.0 scale) and a score of at graduatestudies.lsuhsc.edu/.
least 300 on the Graduate Record Exam (1000 in
the old scoring format). The LSUHSC School of
Graduate Studies provides competitive stipends
and full tuition waivers to all students admitted
into the Ph.D. program.
LSUHSC has a strong record of excellence in
training, which is evidenced through several of
our students successfully obtaining National
Institutes of Health Ruth Kirschstein training
fellowships. Our graduates have continued
Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of Franklin published her work in the same issue
DNA by Brenda Maddox stating it is consistent with the Watson-Crick
model. In subsequent years, she sent copies of
By Karen Muindi, D.Phil., U.S. Food and Drug her papers to Watson and Crick for review, and
Administration they became collaborators. Franklin moved
to Birkbeck College in 1953 and spent a few
If Rosalind Franklin’s name is not the first that successful years elucidating the structure of
comes to mind when you think about the tobacco mosaic virus until her death in April,
discovery of the structure of DNA, you are not 1958 of complications from ovarian cancer.
alone. One is more likely to think of James
Watson, Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins. Even Maddox concludes by engaging the reader
now, nearly fifty years after they were awarded in a discussion of the portrayal of Franklin,
the Nobel Prize for their discoveries, ignorance after her death, by those who knew her. The
still surrounds Franklin’s central role. most controversial being Watson’s in his book
The Double Helix where he portrayed her as
“The first half of twentieth-century science a brawling woman who hoarded data she
belonged to physics… The second half would could not understand and even criticized her
belong to biology… the secret of the gene – appearance.
how hereditary characteristics pass from one
generation to another – was the hottest topic Maddox reports the criticisms leveled at
in science”. Post-war physicists realized that Watson’s hugely successful book including
biological problems could be tackled in their that it undermines the ethics of science,
own language. demonstrating that winning justifies the
questionable means used to get there. Maddox
In her book, Brenda Maddox sets the scene also examines statements made by Watson and
by describing key contributions by various Crick in the years following Franklin’s death
scientists, including Oswald Avery and Erwin criticizing her, suggesting a continuing sense of
Schrödinger, which led to this paradigm shift. unease and a need to constantly defend their
Franklin’s career reflects this. Having trained in actions.
physical chemistry, she studied the properties
of different types of coals for a Ph.D. Her skills This book gives a balanced account of the story
in X-ray crystallography, sharpened in studies of DNA, joining other retributive attempts
on coal and carbon, were later applied to study in recent years to honor Franklin’s critical
DNA fibers at King’s College London. contribution. Maddox paints a picture of a
complex, brilliant, adventurous and passionate
Interpersonal relationships played a big role woman. Quoting extensively from Franklin’s
in how Franklin’s story unfolded. Maddox personal letters, she allows the real Franklin
speculates why some of the scientists involved to emerge from the myths and distorted
got along better than others. She outlines the portraits that have accumulated over time.
convoluted series of events that led to Watson Maddox’s even-handed storytelling underscores
and Crick’s acquisition of Franklin’s X-ray the difficulty involved in disentangling the
diffraction photographs of DNA, photographs contributions of individuals in research.
they used to build the model of the double
helical structure of DNA published in Nature
in 1953, without the knowledge of anyone at
MOLECULES IN MOTION: Animated believes he will be published in top tier science
movie reviews journals. As he quickly finds out, grad school
is filled with hard work, late hours, failed and
Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) repeated experiments, and a relentless drive
to please a demanding PI. The best part of this
Animator: DNA Learning Center animation is that it portrays the life of a Ph.D.
Reviewers: Kaylin Kleinhans, Shelley Kolden & student in an amusing yet nerdy way, with a
Pamela Whyms, University of Wisconsin-Stevens catchy song that will surely get stuck in your
Score: 5 4 4 3 Watch this video online: http://www.youtube.
This animation clearly depicts VALUE
the sequence of events that G-Protein Coupled Hormone Signal
occur during the PCR reaction. ACCURACY ANIMATION Transduction
The simultaneous movement of
the DNA strands suspended in SPECIAL
solution along with the movement Reviewers: Jay Raval, Ben Speth, Jon Sauer &
of the mercury in the thermometer Yang Yang, University of Wisconsin-Stevens
illustrates the importance of Point
temperature during the reaction. The Excellent (5) - Poor (1)
narration is clear, making this short Score: 3 4 5 5
animation very easy to watch. However, the
video failed to specify the reagents needed for This video does a very good job of depicting
PCR and the reaction times for each step of the all of the important steps and components
process. The animation also did not mention involved in signal transduction upon ligand
how a PCR reaction might fail and how to binding to a target cell receptor. There is a good
troubleshoot a failed PCR reaction. amount of background detail in the animation
diagrams. For example, the video displayed the
Watch this video online: http://www.youtube. electrochemical environment outside of the
com/watch?v=2KoLnIwoZKU cell and the physiological change that occurs
after calcium-ion channels open up. It also
The Ph.Diddy is on the scene - Animation of depicted conformational change occurring in
life in the biotech lab the receptor, which is a crucial aspect of ligand-
receptor interaction. At the end of the video, the
Animator: Life Technologies Corp. narrator provides some physiological examples
Reviewers: Shelley Kolden, Nyssa Maki, Qianwei of G-protein coupled signal transduction. The
Ren, and Yang Yang, University of Wisconsin- visual quality of the animation could be better
Stevens Point and the video itself could be presented at a
faster pace. Nonetheless, this video would be
Score: 5 5 4 5 an adequate supplement to teaching signal
transduction in a higher level biochemistry or
This animation is a fun and entertaining cellular biology class.
depiction of the life of a graduate student. It
illustrates the life of Arnold Young as a biotech Watch this video online: http://www.youtube.
Ph.D. candidate, who believes he has the com/watch?v=A3AUhMCE9n0
knowledge and the motivation to change the &feature=related
course of science with his research and truly
The UAN Committee Contributors to this issue:
Marilee Benore, Ph.D. (Chair) Ann Aguanno, Ph.D., Marymount Manhattan
University of Michigan - Dearborn College
Ann Aguanno, Ph.D. Shannon Biello, University of Richmond
Marymount Manhattan College
Time Carter, Ph.D., St. Johns University
Teaster Baird, Ph.D. Arian Frost, Colorado College
San Francisco State University
James T. Hazzard, Ph.D., University of Arizona
Ellis Bell, D. Phil. Andrew D. Hollenbach, Ph.D., LSUHSC
University of Richmond
Jessica Jemmett, University of Arizona
Rachell E. Booth, Ph.D.
Texas State University - San Marcos Anthony Louis, University of Arizona
Ben Caldwell, Ph.D. Ajay Major, Union College
Missouri Western State University
Karen Muindi, D.Phil., US Food and Drug
James T. Hazzard, Ph.D. Administration
University of Arizona
Srona Sengupta, Johns Hopkins University
Mary Huff, Ph.D.
Bellarmine University Rebekah Waikel, Ph.D., Editor, Associate
Professor at Eastern Kentucky University
Jim Lawrence, Ph.D.
University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point Weiyi Zhao, Managing Editor, ASBMB
Mike Pikaart, Ph.D.
Joe Provost, Ph.D.
North Dakota State University
Quinn Vega, Ph.D.
Montclair State University