Undergraduate Research – Spring Semester Poster Workshops

The VCU Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) will be hosting a number of research poster workshops over the coming weeks to help prepare students to present their research at campus and national research conferences and symposia.

The workshops are scheduled for the following dates/times:

Wed. March 15th  Hibbs Hall room 262 at 3pm

Tues. March 21st Hibbs Hall room 431 at 2pm

Wed. March 22nd Hibbs Hall room 262 at 3pm

Tues. March 28th Hibbs Hall room 431 at 2pm

Wed. March 29th Hibbs Hall room 262 at 2pm

Tues. April 4th  Hibbs Hall room 431 at 2pm

If students are unable to attend any of the posted workshops, they are welcome to email urop@vcu.edu to set up an individual appointment to discuss research poster creation.

Just a reminder: abstracts for the VCU Poster Symposium for Undergraduate Research and Creativity are due March 22nd.  Abstracts should be submitted at: http://go.vcu.edu/uroppostersubmit

Deadline is March 1st! 2017 Summer Fellowships for Undergraduate Research at VCU! Call for Proposals

It is time again to announce our funded fellowship opportunities for undergraduates interested in conducting research during the summer of 2017!  In addition to the UROP Fellowship we are again pleased to offer fellowships funded by the Center for Clinical and Translational Research, the Global Education Office, and the Division for Inclusive Excellence!  As always, many thanks to these units for their support!

Below you will find a brief description for each fellowship opportunity with a link to the full description.  Check out profiles of some of our previous Summer Research Fellows HERE. Deadline for proposals is March 1st, 2017.  Feel free to direct any questions to Herb Hill at hhill@vcu.edu

 

Global Education Undergraduate Research Fellowships

The Global Education Office will fund three unique undergraduate fellowship awards for research projects, mentored by VCU faculty. Research proposals should show evidence of significant engagement with a culture originating from outside of the US that is different from the applicant’s native culture. Successful proposals should exhibit how the project will increase the student researcher’s knowledge, skills and experience to demonstrate successfully functioning across a variety of borders, such as national, linguistic, cultural, religious, and/or others. Each fellowship award includes $1500 in funding for the student and $500 for the faculty mentor.  For details and to apply visit: http://research.vcu.edu/ugresources/geo_fellowship.htm

Undergraduate Fellowships for Clinical and Translational Research

The VCU Center for Clinical and Translational Research will fund one undergraduate research fellowship award for a clinical translational research project focused on human health and mentored by a VCU faculty member. A clinical translational research project is one that aims to translate scientific discoveries into improved human health and wellness. Successful proposals must discuss how the project will increase the student researcher’s knowledge, skills and experience while simultaneously attempting to advance human health through clinical research. Each fellowship award includes $1500 in funding for the student and $500 for the faculty mentor.  For details and to apply visit: http://research.vcu.edu/ugresources/cctr_urop_fellowship.htm



Undergraduate Research Fellowship for Inclusive Excellence

The VCU Division for Inclusive Excellence will fund one undergraduate research fellowship award for a faculty-mentored research project focused on “diversity” as it relates to ideas, cultures, backgrounds and experiences. Successful proposals must discuss how the project will increase the student researcher’s knowledge, skills and experience related to the social, economic, political and historical significance of particular differences. This project may investigate diversity through the lens of gender, race/ethnicity, religion, socio-economic status, disabilities and/or international issues. Each fellowship award includes $1500 in funding for the student and $500 for the faculty mentor.  For details and to apply : http://research.vcu.edu/ugresources/ie_fellowship.htm

VCU Undergraduate Research and Creative Scholarship Summer Fellowships

The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) will fund a limited number of undergraduate student fellowship awards for projects mentored by VCU faculty. Successful student applicants will receive a cash stipend of $1,500 and $500 for the faculty mentor.  Applicants must submit an online application no later than March 1st, 2017 for review.  For details and to apply visit: http://research.vcu.edu/ugresources/fellowship-instructions.htm

Call for Applications for the VCU IMSD research training program!

Calling future researchers!

The Center on Health Disparities is excited to request applications for:
The VCU Initiative to Maximize Student Development (IMSD) research training program.

We are looking to recruit eager, young biomedical researchers from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in the biomedical sciences who are excited to engage in a research intensive curriculum and a long term biomedical research experience.
More details about what the program has to offer can be found on the attached flyer.
The deadline for applications is: March 15th 2017
Prospective students can apply online here: http://www.healthdisparities.vcu.edu/Research–Training/Apply-Now/

If you have any further questions about the program please contact myself
Dr. Sarah Golding, Director of the VCU Undergraduate IMSD program
segolding@vcu.edu

For questions regarding the application process please contact.
Ms Khiana Meade
IMSD Program Coordinator
cohdtraining@vcuhealth.org

We look forward to reviewing your applications!

 

National Constitution Center displays artifact replicas that were 3-D printed at VCU

National Constitution Center displays artifact replicas that were 3-D printed at VCU

Featured photoCeleste Fuentes, a freshman anthropology major and lab manager at the Virtual Curation Laboratory, shows off a plate fragment associated with a free African-American, contemporaneous with the signing of the Constitution.

A new display at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia features artifact replicas 3-D printed and painted by Virginia Commonwealth University students.

The display, “Philadelphia 1787,” opened earlier this month as part of the center’s main exhibit, which pieces together life in Philadelphia at the time of the birth of a new nation. The exhibit features more than 80 archeological artifacts dating to the 18th century that were excavated in Philadelphia before construction of the National Constitution Center.

As part of the exhibit, visitors are invited to “touch the past” by interacting with 3-D-printed artifact replicas created in the Virtual Curation Laboratory, part of VCU’s School of World Studies in the College of Humanities and Sciences. The lab focuses on the 3-D scanning and 3-D printing of historic and archaeological objects, including many notable artifacts from museums across Virginia and around the world.

VCU alumnae Brenna Geraghty paints a replica German-made jar with rabbit design that was 3-D-printed in the Virtual Curation Laboratory.

VCU alumnae Brenna Geraghty paints a replica German-made jar with rabbit design that was 3-D-printed in the Virtual Curation Laboratory.

“This 3-D scanning and 3-D printing project with the National Constitution Center is the type of relationship that I like to foster between the Virtual Curation Laboratory and our partners in the cultural heritage community,” said Bernard Means, Ph.D., director of the Virtual Curation Laboratory and an instructor of anthropology. “VCU students are given the opportunity to work with replicas of significant artifacts important to our nation’s history and make a contribution that will enrich people who visit the National Constitution Center.”

Visitors to “Philadelphia 1787” can explore the 3-D-printed reproductions of the original artifacts, which are connected to specific people from the area or are representative of what they would have owned. The objects help illuminate the lives of everyday Philadelphians of various backgrounds who were living side by side, just steps away from where the momentous events of founding a nation were taking place.

In August, Means visited the center to 3-D scan the artifacts in the National Park Service’s Independence National Historical Park archaeology laboratory.

In the fall, VCU students Luke Davis-Lee, Charlie Parker, Diana Salazar, Benjamin Snyder, Nathalie Warden, Brittany Blanchard, Elsie Martin and Celeste Fuentes, and one alumna, Brenna Geraghty, worked in the Virtual Curation Laboratory to 3-D print and paint the reproductions.

This is real world experience with helping create a museum exhibit.

As an example, the students 3-D printed and painted a replica of an ornate, imported green plate that was excavated on the site of the home of James Dexter, a free African-American coachman and prominent member of Philadelphia’s free black community.

“These undergraduate students and one alumna worked faithfully to create accurately painted 3-D printed replicas, knowing that they would be incorporated into an exhibit in historic Philadelphia,” Means said. “This is real world experience with helping create a museum exhibit that these students and the alumna can list on their resumes or graduate school applications. In fact, alumna Brenna Geraghty was hired as the new museum manager at Chippokes Plantation State Park in part because of her work on this exhibit.”

Means and the students also created 3-D-printed replicas for use by undergraduate students doing research at VCU. Some of the students will present on the National Constitution Center project at the spring undergraduate research poster conference at VCU.

The National Constitution Center's

The National Constitution Center’s “Philadelphia 1787” display invites visitors to “touch the past,” via 3-D-printed artifact replicas produced by VCU’s Virtual Curation Laboratory. Photo courtesy of the National Constitution Center.

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Research report: The numbers behind the innovation

VCU ranks among nation’s top 100 for research spending

Featured photoResearch conducted at VCU’s Rice Rivers Center is one example of more than $218.9 million in university research expenditures.

The impact of Virginia Commonwealth University researchers is wide-ranging — they have patented a canine vaccine for Lyme disease, led a nationwide effort to study concussions and aided the resurgence of sturgeon in the James River.

Those are a few of the ongoing accomplishments made with $218.9 million in VCU research expenditures, according to the National Science Foundation’s Higher Education Research and Development Survey, which outlines higher education expenditures in the U.S. for fiscal year 2015.

Nationwide funding for university research has declined the past four years. Still, VCU ranked among the top 100 institutions for the highest total expenditures dedicated to research in 2015, according to the report. The university has held this distinction three times in the past 10 years. VCU also has been ranked for five consecutive years by the NSF as a top 100 research university based on federal research expenditures. Presently, VCU is ranked No. 81 in that category, with $142.4 million in federal research expenditures for fiscal year 2015.

“It’s a fitting tribute to the community of VCU scholars who continue to propel our research enterprise upward even in times of economic adversity,” said Francis Macrina, Ph.D., vice president for research and innovation at VCU.

More than test tubes

Nearly 2,000 grants to VCU researchers were considered in the report.

The NSF calculates expenditures based on the portion of awarded research grants from all entities — not only NSF — spent in a fiscal year. The remaining grant amounts carry over to future years.

The university’s portfolio of total research awards for fiscal year 2015 was a then-record $270.3 million. Total research awards for 2016 exceeded $271 million. The totals include both award expenditures, remaining award amounts, and funds from other sources.

Macrina said the increase in expenditures is a credit to faculty and other researchers, who compete to obtain awards from various institutions, initiatives, endowments and foundations. The majority of VCU research is grant funded in this way, from nonuniversity sources.

“The people who are able to get that money to VCU are smart enough, hardworking enough, clever enough and productive enough to convince people that they ought to support their research,” he said.

The NSF rankings consider expenditures not only in STEM or health fields, but also in the arts and humanities. It takes contributions from multiple disciplines to build a well-rounded research institution, Macrina said.

“When people hear research, they tend to think test tubes,” he added.

Serving the community

Federal funding also helps the Richmond Teacher Residency program, which gives aspiring teachers full-time classroom experience.

Federal funding also helps the Richmond Teacher Residency program, which gives aspiring teachers full-time classroom experience.

The School of Medicine received $138.2 million in research awards in 2016, the highest amount for any VCU school. The School of Education was awarded $24.7 million, the second highest total. Education expenditures have funded initiatives such as finding ways to more effectively teach science education, addressing the needs of students with disabilities, and creating positive approaches to classroom behavioral management.

“We are working hands-on in the community with schools and service agencies to improve the lives of children and their families,” said Deborah Speece, Ph.D., associate dean of research and faculty development in the School of Education.

Federal funding also helps the Richmond Teacher Residency program, which gives aspiring teachers full-time classroom experience. The program recruits students interested in working in urban environments who have bachelor’s degrees in disciplines outside education and are working toward master’s degrees in education.

“We want to prepare people to teach in urban environments and stay in urban schools long term,” Speece said.

Lisa Abrams, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Foundations of Education, and colleagues have been funded by the National Institutes of Health to research teaching methods to improve science education. She said her research has been bolstered by administrative resources available to the School of Education and the university.

“It’s very clear that one of the university’s primary goals is to increase externally funded research,” Abrams said. “So, along those lines, we’ve seen investments in infrastructure. One example is greater resources being allocated to Institutional Review Board operations. Internally at the School of Education, we have a highly effective office of research that supports faculty in all aspects of grant development, grant submission and post grant award management.”

Real innovations

Innovation Gateway has worked to secure intellectual property protections and licensing of compounds created by Antonio Abbate and a team of researchers that could lead to therapeutics that would reduce the risk of heart failure following a heart attack.

Innovation Gateway has worked to secure intellectual property protections and licensing of compounds created by Antonio Abbate and a team of researchers that could lead to therapeutics that would reduce the risk of heart failure following a heart attack.

The university also works through its VCU Innovation Gateway, within the Office of Research and Innovation, to ensure research findings are applied to benefit the general public. VCU Innovation Gateway works with university researchers to facilitate commercialization of their innovations, which includes new venture creation that benefits regional economic development.

In 2016, VCU Innovation Gateway assisted with the filing of a record 156 patents and VCU faculty notified the office of 133 inventions.

If you don’t move the inventions out of the university to the marketplace, society will never benefit.

“I am very proud to be part of the process of establishing VCU as a leading research university with a tangible impact on people in the Richmond region and beyond,” said Ivelina Metcheva, Ph.D., executive director, VCU Innovation Gateway. “The work we do is gratifying because if you don’t move the inventions out of the university to the marketplace, society will never benefit.”

Many innovations advanced by VCU Innovation Gateway were made possible by expenditures detailed in the NSF report.

Recently, VCU Innovation Gateway helped foster the growth of Sanyal Biotechnology, which was formed to commercialize the research of Arun Sanyal, M.D., a VCU School of Medicine professor.

Sanyal, who serves as president, chair and chief medical officer of his company, created a proprietary mouse strain to test potential therapeutics to treat NASH, or nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. The obesity epidemic in the United States has led to an increase of NASH, which has become a leading cause of liver-related mortality.

VCU Innovation Gateway has also worked to secure intellectual property protections and licensing of compounds that could lead to the development of therapeutics that would reduce the risk of heart failure following a heart attack. VCU researchers Antonio Abbate, M.D., Ph.D., vice-chairman, Division of Cardiology, VCU Health; Shijun Zhang, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Medicinal Chemistry, VCU School of Pharmacy; and Benjamin Van Tassell, Pharm.D., associate professor and research professor, Department of Pharmacotherapy and Outcomes Science, VCU School of Pharmacy, have created the compounds, which block overproduction of a protein in white blood cells that has been linked to heart attack.

Abbate said VCU Innovation Gateway worked to secure licensing of the invention by a startup biotechnology firm in Virginia.

“The ability to license it to a company involves also the marketing value of the product, in addition to the science,” he said. “These are concepts that we as scientists are not very familiar with, and Innovation Gateway help us navigate.”

 

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