Deadline to submit abstracts: Friday, October 14th
Deadline to submit abstracts: Friday, October 14th
Apply online at : https://redcap.vcu.edu/surveys/?s=FK7YR77LN3
Auctus, VCU’s Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creative Scholarship, is seeking talented students to join the staff for the next issue. Members will help review and edit research articles and creative works in all disciplines for our journal sections of Creative, Humanities, Social Sciences, STEM and News + Noteworthy.
Students of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply. We are currently accepting applications for “Reviewer” positions with the potential to move up into editorial and leadership roles. Reviewers will read students’ submissions to the journal and in collaboration with other members of the section, decide whether the articles should be accepted, revised and resubmitted, or rejected.
Joining could be a great opportunity for anyone with a copy editing background, knowledge of MLA Style, an interest in research, talents in writing, skills in public relations or background knowledge in their degree field. The staff application can be accessed at http://auctus.vcu.edu/apply , and the final deadline is Friday October 7th. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. Our first meeting will take place on October 9th at 3pm in the Honors College Multi-Purpose Room.
Friday October 14th, 2016
Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Campus
The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Student Chapter at VCU
The ASBMB Student Chapter at VCU is pleased to announce the 3rd Annual ASBMB-VA Undergraduate Research Conference that will be held on the MCV campus on Friday October 14th, 2016. This conference aims to further students interest and appreciation for disciplines within the life sciences with an emphasis on Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Students are invited to attend the conference, and ones who would like to present their research are invited to do so in both oral and poster formats.
The registration, and abstract submission deadlines are October 6th, and October 7th, 2016 at 11:59 PM respectively.
Information about the location and parking can be found here: ASBMB VCU 2016 Directions and Parking
Abstract submission information and the online registration form can be found here: ASBMB VCU 2016 Registration
This event it free to attend.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have an additional questions,
We look forward to hosting you all in Richmond soon!
Joshua David, Neha Rampally and Danarubini Ramanan
Co-Chairs of ASBMB-VA 2016
Sarah Golding and Teraya Donaldson
ASBMB at VCU Co-Advisors
Undergraduates must register via the online form at the link below:
Monday, July 18, 2016
Virginia Commonwealth University history major Jesse Adkins is slowly and steadily pushing a ground-penetrating radar device across a field near Fredericksburg, searching for underground anomalies that could help pinpoint the location of a long-lost 18th-century fort built by Alexander Spotswood, the colonial governor of Virginia from 1710 to 1722.
“I don’t know,” replied archaeologist Eric Larsen, Ph.D., who was demonstrating how to use the ground-penetrating radar. “Are Pokémon buried underground?”
Jokes aside, Adkins, along with seven other VCU students and recent graduates, as well one University of Mary Washington student, are enrolled in VCU’s archaeology field school, a five-week dig that aims to provide hands-on archaeology experience along with uncovering a piece of early Virginia history.
Early German colonists in Virginia
The site, located amid a real estate development across from Germanna Community College, was once the location of Fort Germanna, at which Spotswood settled an initial colony of nine German families — 42 men, women and children — who came from the German iron-mining region of Siegen in North Rhine, Westphalia.
“Spotswood persuaded the House of Burgesses to approve the funds to equip the fort, and the Germans were commissioned as rangers,” said Steven Hein, chief operating officer of the Germanna Foundation, which owns the property and is dedicated to preserving the heritage of the early German settlers in Virginia. “He provided [the fort] with two cannon, but we don’t think it ever saw any defensive action because, by that time, it was a few years after the Tuscarora War [fought between British, Dutch, and German settlers and the Tuscarora Native Americans] in North Carolina. We think it was probably part of that line of defense.”
By 1717, the Siegerlanders were coming to the end of their contract, and a second group of German colonists had arrived at the fort. The first group permanently relocated to what is now Fauquier County, while the second colony eventually settled in Madison County, and formed the Hebron Lutheran Church, the oldest continuously operating Lutheran Church in the United States.
The wooden palisaded Fort Germanna was pentagon shaped, and at the center stood a pentagon-shaped block house, which also doubled as a church for the Germans, making it the first Reformed German Protestant church in America.
The Germanna Foundation, which is made up of descendants of the original German colonies in Virginia, is hoping the archaeological dig will find a corner of one of the fort’s 300-foot walls, which could then reveal the footprint of the fort, as well as the approximate location of the church at the center.
“Finding the block house would be exciting, particularly for a lot of the Germanna Foundation supporters and members, because most of them are descendants of the original two groups of Germanna colonists,” Hein said. “In a way, this site is where they became Americans. So they’re excited about trying to find where that actually was.”
In the 1720s, the fort was dismantled and Spotswood built a mansion on the site, which a visitor dubbed “the Enchanted Castle,” given its size and location — essentially in “the middle of nowhere,” Hein said.
“The house was big,” he said. “It was a grand house, which we know because its foundation still exists. It was sort of like the Governor’s Palace in Williamsburg, which Spotswood had a hand in rebuilding and designing when he was governor.”
Learning by doing
VCU’s archaeology field school is the first to excavate the Fort Germanna/Enchanted Castle site since the early 1990s. Means, director of the program, said it marks an incredible opportunity to help discover Virginia history.
“The VCU students know that whatever they find, they are making a major contribution to understanding the archaeology at Germanna that builds on earlier work, but also forges new directions,” he said. “This is the very first real attempt to understand the 1714 fort that was built at Germanna.”
A primary goal of the field school is to give real-world, hands-on experience to VCU students interested in pursuing careers in archaeology.
“I want the students to basically learn by doing,” Means said. “While VCU students can take a wide range of courses related to archaeology, even a class I teach on archaeological methods, it is the real-world application that really hones in a practical way what they learned in the classroom. VCU students are not simply learning how to do archaeology in a real world, they are working on an actual archaeological site.”
The only way to truly learn field archaeological techniques, he said, is by digging and getting your hands dirty.
“This is the real hands-on education,” he said. “This is where you learn how to use the tools. This is where you learn what it’s like to do archaeology all day long. And it’s critical because it lets you see, ‘Do I really want to be a field archaeologist?’”
Ben Snyder and Marianne Tokarz, both senior anthropology majors, are taking part in the dig. They are focusing on a farm field, which was owned by the Gordon family — the namesake of the town of Gordonsville in Orange County — for many years after the Enchanted Castle burned down in the 1740s. So far, Snyder and Tokarz have discovered a ceramic pipe stem, wrought (hand-forged) nails, charcoal, and black-glazed red earthenware ceramics.
“It’s a really physical process of discovering history. There’s an element of discovery.”
“It’s been interesting so far,” Snyder said. “It’s a really physical process of discovering history. There’s an element of discovery.”
“That’s what I like about it too,” Tokarz added. “We’re some of the first people to dig in this part of the site, so it’s really cool.”
Adkins, who was learning how to use ground-penetrating radar near the Enchanted Castle foundation, said she was excited to take part in the field school, having previously participated in an archaeological dig in Africa as part of a study abroad program led by Amy Rector Verrelli, Ph.D., assistant professor of anthropology.
“[Field school] is awesome,” she said. “This is the second time I’ve gotten the opportunity to dig. It’s a lot of hard work, but you learn a lot and sometimes it’s peaceful and sometimes it hurts your hands. But either way, you learn a lot.”
Zoe Rahsman, an anthropology major who graduated in December and is an intern with Germanna Archaeology, agreed, noting that she has so far found glass, different kinds of ceramic and a few different nails in the Gordon family’s field.
“It’s definitely tough sometimes, but you learn a lot,” she said. “And I learn by doing instead of sitting in the classroom, so it’s helpful for me to be outside doing the work. Also, I like to see the artifacts as they come up out of the ground.”
While this is the first summer that VCU students have taken part in the excavation of Fort Germanna/the Enchanted Castle, Means said the students’ work of discovering the site’s past will continue into the future.
“This partnership with the Germanna Foundation is one that will continue after the last shovel of dirt is removed this summer,” he said. “Students will have an opportunity to help analyze the field results and artifacts recovered this year, as well as present papers on their work at future archaeological conferences as well as their directed student research.”
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2016 Fall Undergraduate Research Grant Applications and Fall Undergraduate Research Meeting
The Fall Undergraduate Research Meeting is a research grant proposal competition, which has been held annually since the Fall of 2001. Students, with their faculty mentors, must submit Research Grant Applications and develop posters following the criteria of the Fall Meeting Poster Guidelines. This year’s meeting will be held on Saturday, October 29, 2016 at Virginia Union University in Richmond.
Undergraduate students (along with their faculty mentors) interested in participating in this meeting are required to:
(1) Submit Undergraduate Research Grant Applications by the October 1 deadline.
(2) Attend the Fall Undergraduate Research Meeting on October 29 and present a poster outlining the proposed research.
Five Undergraduate Research Grant Awards of $500 each will be awarded to selected participants at the end of this meeting. Both the Research Grant Applications and the Poster Presentations at the meeting will be evaluated to determine the recipients of these research grants. The grant award recipients will also be awarded student membership in the Virginia Academy of Science for 2017 and will be expected to present the results of their completed research at the 2017 VAS Annual Meeting in May at Virginia Commonwealth University.
VAS President-Elect Robert Atkinson at Christopher Newport University (email@example.com) serves as the coordinator and Program Chair for the 2016 Fall Undergraduate Research Meeting. Specific details about the Undergraduate Research Grant Applications, along with the submission procedure, and information about Fall Meeting Registration will be made available on the VAS website in late summer and early fall. (www.vacadsci.org)
Students who submit Undergraduate Research Grant Applications (and subsequently present posters at this meeting) must be undergraduates currently enrolled in 2- or 4-year colleges or universities in Virginia. Student grant applicants/poster presenters are NOT required to be members of the Virginia Academy of Science.
Faculty mentors of the grant applicants/poster presenters must be faculty members affiliated with 2- or 4-year colleges or universities in Virginia. Faculty mentors must be VAS members in good standing (i.e., paid dues for 2016) as of the October 1st grant application deadline. Current VAS Membership status can be confirmed by contacting the VAS Associate Executive Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, April 29, 2016
Virginia Patterson believes exercise saved her life. With that in mind, she often finds herself considering how it can help save the lives of others. Patterson, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Sciences, part of the College of Humanities and Sciences, searches for ways to help people find the kind of reward in physical fitness that has enriched her own life.
Before she embraced serious exercise, Patterson said, she was unmotivated and directionless. As she became more devoted to a regular exercise regimen, she found her mood improved substantially, particularly when she was pushing herself.
“Exercise really helped me sink my teeth into that move forward,” she said. “I could see that I could keep getting better.”
Patterson is studying the cognitive effects of intense periods of exercise, particularly on those who are generally sedentary and inactive. She wants to know if people benefit mentally and emotionally in the immediate aftermath of serious exercise, even if they feel preoccupied with their physical pain.
Patterson said her research so far has indicated that intense exercise amounts to “good stress,” whether the subjects are feeling physically ill from it or not. “It doesn’t care how you feel,” she said. “You’re getting benefits from it whether you like it or not.”
Patterson was one of hundreds of students who showcased their ongoing and completed research projects during the 19th Annual Graduate Student Research Symposium and Exhibit and the 10th Annual Poster Symposium for Undergraduate Research and Creativity, held on back-to-back days in the University Student Commons last week. Students from both campuses and a diverse range of disciplines presented their research, mingling with each other among poster boards to explain their work to visitors and to learn about the efforts of their peers. Some of the students conducted solo research projects, while others were parts of teams that included other students and faculty members.
The symposiums, which are central components of the annual Research Weeks at VCU, provide students at all levels of their education — from freshmen to Ph.D. candidates — with the opportunity to present and explain their research to a captive audience.
In line with Patterson’s experience, students frequently had both personal and academic foundations for their research projects. Diana Naidoo, an undergraduate student in the School of Nursing, was born prematurely and has always been interested in the topic of preterm labor. She was part of a team examining the effects of guided imagery stress management on pregnant African-American women. Guided imagery uses words and music to create positive mental images for subjects.
Stress is considered a major factor in negative birth outcomes, including premature births, and black women are particularly susceptible. Naidoo, an Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program scholar, said her research indicated that guided imagery did reduce stress in the women involved, suggesting that it is a possible low-cost option that deserves more study.
Naidoo said she hopes to continue to conduct research during her nursing career. As a nurse, she said, you interact closely with patients and “can tease out how their lives relate to their medical situation.” Naidoo would like to be able to take what she learns from her patients and pursue research that relates to the issues they are facing.
Candace Moore hopes to use her research experiences as a springboard in her academic career. Moore is one of the researchers on the project “Balancing Work and School: Evaluating the Experiences of Students Who Work While Enrolled.” The study examines the effects of part-time work on job and academic performance.
Moore, who said 76 percent of college students work at least one part-time job, volunteers as a caregiver for a disabled veteran, serving approximately 25 hours per week, and knows how outside responsibilities can threaten to hinder school performance. The study incorporated a survey of students’ supervisors at work, and it revealed, among other findings, that a supportive supervisor proves critical to a student’s academic performance.
Moore said research projects are rewarding experiences that require teamwork, creativity, curiosity and attention to detail. She is majoring in psychology and science, with a concentration in health preparation/professional science, and minoring in biology and chemistry. Although not scheduled to graduate until 2018, Moore has already participated in multiple research studies. She hopes to attend medical school one day and will be transitioning to working on biomedical research at VCU with her remaining undergraduate experience.
Jessica Greenlee’s research, “Relations Between Social Skills and Bullying Behaviors Among Students with Disabilities: The Role of Effective Nonviolent Behaviors,” examines the experiences of students with disabilities in an urban public middle school. Greenlee is pursuing a Ph.D. in developmental psychology.
“I’m really interested in kids with disabilities and how they handle social challenges,” she said.
“Presenting it here is a real highlight for me.”
Greenlee’s study will help illuminate how well certain strategies work for children who are at risk of bullying. She said she found strong mentorship and collaborative instincts within her department to support her research pursuits, and she plans to use the study she presented at the graduate symposium as the starting point for her dissertation. However, it was also its own reward.
“Presenting it here is a real highlight for me,” she said.
Anson Blanks, who is pursuing a Ph.D. in kinesiology and health, conducted his research in the same lab as Patterson. He examined the use of the exercise recovery index as an assessment of cardiovascular disease risk. Blanks said the study was not a direct match for the lines of research he hopes to pursue in the future, but navigating the process of designing and implementing the study and managing its results and presentation were invaluable.
“Even if the topic isn’t exactly what I plan to do, the experience of going through it was very helpful to me,” he said.
Mounica Bevara, a biology major, played violin for eight years and that background informed her study, “Combination of Music and Aromatherapy to Improve the Efficiency of Motor Functions and Speech in Patients Paralyzed From Stroke.” Bevara said physiotherapy treatments for patients who were paralyzed following a stroke are long and rigorous — and expensive. Bevara explored whether music therapy and aromatherapy could aid the process.
Bevara, who is just a freshman, conducted the research for a class. She did not expect to enjoy the process as much as she did.
“I definitely think it has been a great opportunity for me to expand my knowledge,” she said. “Before this, I wouldn’t have considered doing research.”
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The fellowship provides the opportunity for faculty and students to partner on a funded research project of their choice. The fellowship is designed to provide outstanding undergraduates the chance to make significant progress on a formal, structured research endeavor during the summer in collaboration with a faculty mentor.
In addition to the awards supported by UROP, fellowships were funded by the Global Education Office, Division for Inclusive Excellence, Division of Community Engagement and the Center for Clinical and Translational Research. These projects are focused on global learning and research, issues of diversity, community-engaged research and clinical research into advancing human health.
The 2016 VCU Undergraduate Research Summer Fellows include:
Sarah Algino, Department of Biomedical Engineering, VCU Honors College, with Dr. Raj Rao, Department of Chemical and Life Science Engineering: Defined scaffolds for propagation of human pluripotent stem cells
Bethany Allen, Department of Sculpture, with Mr. Matthew Warren, Photography and Film: Can Augmented Reality Technology can be Artfully used to Challenge Conventional Modes of Perception?
Niraja Bohidar, Department of Biomedical Engineering, VCU Honors College, with Dr. Rebecca Heise, Department of Biomedical Engineering: Using Vitamin C to Attenuate Stretch Induced ER Stress in Aged Murine ATII Cells
Abigail Burns, Departments of Economics (CHS) and Political Science, VCU Honors College, with Dr. Carol Scotese, Department of Economics: Modeling Demographic Transitions: The Role of Technology Gaps
Quy-Hien Dang, Clinical Lab Sciences, with Dr. Jenica Harrison, Clinical Lab Sciences: Development of a Mixing Study Protocol and a Factor Assay Protocol for the Assessment of Factor VIII Activity in Human Plasma Using the STart®4 Analyzer
Nicholas Donnelly, Department of Psychology, with Dr. Marcia Winter, Department of Psychology: Young Children’s Sensory Sensitivity & Cognitive Flexibility: Research & Education in the Children’s Museum
Arzan Dotivala, Department of Chemical and Life Science Engineering, with Dr. Christina Tang, Department of Chemical and Life Science Engineering: Synthesis and Characterization of Superhydrophobic Fibrous Membranes
Nicole Duggan, Department Biomedical Engineering, with Dr. Daniel Conway, Department of Biomedical Engineering: Measurement of Mechanical Force on Cardiomyocyte Desmosomes
Marwa Eltaib, Departments of Biology and Sociology, VCU Honors College, with Dr. Susan Bodnar-Deren, Department of Sociology: Depression and Health of Refugees in Central Virginia
Andrew Harris, BA, School of Nursing, with Dr. Patricia Kinser, School of Nursing: Exploring Barriers and Facilitators to Sustaining Mindfulness Practice in Healthcare Professionals
Lohitha Kethu, Scientific and Preparatory Medical Illustration, with Dr. Carmen Rodriguez, Department of Biology: The Graphic Novel as an Aid to Type 1 Diabetes Diagnoses
SungHo Kim, School of Nursing, with Dr. Alison Montpetit, Adult Health and Nursing Systems: Exploring Relationships Between Airway Acidity and Sepsis in Mechanically Ventilated Adults
Elisabeth McConnell, VCU School of Nursing, with Dr. Clarence Biddle, Departments of Anesthesiology & Nurse Anesthesia: Translation of Hypoxic Pulmonary Vasoconstriction Research Into Educational Publication for Anesthesia Practitioners
Jaime McGinthy, School of Nursing, with Dr. Leigh Small, Family and Community Health Nursing: Visceral Indicators of Risk or Growth: VIGoR
Sameen Meshkin, Department of Biology, VCU Honors College, with Dr. Susan Bodnar-Deren, Department of Sociology: Preserving a Sense of Honor, Conscience, and Dignity during Medical School for the Physician-Patient Relationship
Inyoung Park, Departments of Political Science and Economics, VCU Honors College, with Dr. Laura Razzolini, Department of Economics: Warm Glow versus Cold prickle: The Effect of Feeling of Ownership on Cooperation and Altruism
Heather Parker, School of World Studies (Anthropology), with Dr. Bernard Means, School of World Studies: Connecting Cultures: Mining India’s Rich Cultural Heritage through Virtual Technology
Huy Phan, Environmental Studies, with Dr. Lesley Bulluck, Department of Biology and Center for Environmental Studies: Does aquatic insect emergence correlate with the breeding time and nestling condition of the Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea)?
Danarubini Ramanan, Department of Chemistry, with Dr. Matthew Hartman, Department of Chemistry: Using FRET and GST Fusion Proteins to Assess Protein Binding Activity with Peptide Inhibitors
Hanqiu Tan, Department of Mathematics, with Dr. Marco Aldi, Department of Mathematics: A Prime Hypergraph Theorem
Nilan Vaghjiani, Department of Biomedical Engineering, VCU Honors College, with Dr. Indika Arachchige, Department of Chemistry: Metal Aerogels as High Efficiency Surface Enhance Raman Scattering Substrates for Detection of Chronic Biomolecules
Morgan Van Driest, Department of Bioinformatics, with Dr. Amanda Dickinson, Department of Biology: Desmosomal Gene Expression During Embryological Development In Xenopus laevis
Anna Webster, Department of English, with Mr. Brian McTague, VCU Writing Center: Digital Tales of Shining Sea and Rising Sun: an examination of cultural storytelling in the genre of horror via the medium of video games
Auburn Wilborn, Department of Psychology, with Dr. Heather Jones, Department of Psychology: Parenting and Cognitions in African American Families of Children with ADHD
Elaine Williams, School of Social Work, with Dr. Alex Wagaman, School of Social Work: Exploring the Experiences and Services Needs of Non-Traditional Homeless Youth in Richmond
Ruxandra Zait, Department of Information Systems, with Dr. Manoj Thomas, Department of Information Systems: Assistive Technologies for Continuing Medical Education (CME) in Nepal
Elyse Duani, Department of Sociology, with Dr. Joann Richardson, Kinesiology and Health Sciences: Impacting knowledge, attitudes and behaviors for the prevention and control of hypertension and diabetes among rural, medically underserved Jamaican women of childbearing age
Caitlin Lange, School of Social Work, with Dr. Hyojin Im, School of Social Work: Multifaceted Health Analysis of Effects of Acculturation on Bhutanese Refugees
Hannah Foster, School of World Studies (French and International Studies), with Dr. Lionel Mathieu, School of World Studies: World Language French Curation Project
Anthony Kormos, Departments of Information Systems and Economics, with Dr. Elena Olson, Department of Information Systems: Early Computing Education Competition
Colleen Parker, School of Social Work, with Dr. Shelby McDonald, School of Social Work: A mixed-methods study to inform a coordinated community response to the intersection of interpersonal and animal-directed violence
Katharine Pyle, Public Relations, with Dr. Rowena Briones, Robertson School of Media and Culture: Striving Toward Evidence-Based Social Media Communication: An Exploration of Enhancing the Red Flag Campaign
Daniel Mohammadi, Department of Forensic Science, VCU Honors College, with Dr. Robert Tombes, Departments of Biology and Biochemistry: The Role of CaMK-II in Zebrafish Acute Myeloid Leukemia Development
Ksenia Dombo, School of Social Work, with Dr. Shelby McDonald, School of Social Work: Race, Ethnicity, and Trauma Symptomology among Children Exposed to Family Violence
Sasha Spruill, Departments of Political Science and African American Studies, with Dr. Mignonne Guy, Department of African American Studies: Exploring the discipline experiences of black females in inner city public schools by examining the inequitable practices of exclusionary discipline