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May 2016 Newsletter

Life Sciences South Florida Fourth Annual STEM Undergraduate Student Symposium

For the fourth year in a row, the Life Sciences South Florida (LSSF) STEM Undergraduate Research Symposium showcased original research from dozens of South Florida students. Held during the Spring 2016 semester at the Broward College North Campus, Omni Auditorium in Coconut Creek, FL, Dean Don Astrab worked tirelessly to ensure a wonderful event for the students. More than 80 entries were presented throughout the day, while 39 judges from LSSF member institutions leant their expertise.

Through undergraduate research,” said Dean Astrab, “students’ career goals are usually clarified and invariably leads to a better understanding of and a deeper appreciation for the Life Sciences discipline under investigation. The LSSF symposium serves as an outstanding showcase for each student’s accomplishments.”

Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca and Florida State Representative Kristin Jacobs provided advice, encouragement, and calls to action to the students and researchers in attendance.

Hosted by LSSF, whose members include Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies and the Beacon Council, among other top educational, economic development and research institutions in the region, the symposium was aimed at encouraging student research in the STEM fields. Launched in 2010, LSSF is overseen by FIU’s Office of Engagement.

“This symposium is a testament to the power of collaboration,” said Saif Ishoof, vice president of the Office of Engagement. “By utilizing our collective assets we are able to give our students the platform they need to showcase their work and encourage them to pursue degrees in STEM fields that result in high-tech and high-paying jobs.”

Student research projects included metastatic uterine cancer resistance, spatial reasoning as a predictor of STEM success, synergetic interactions, migration and distribution of natural organic matter, and aromatic amino acids in the structure and function of DREAM protein.

Oral Presentation Results

1st place: Stephanie Cheng, Gold Nano-Particle (GNP) Colorimetric Quantification of Drug Concentrations to Determine Intervertebral Disc (IVD) Diffusion Coefficient, University of Miami

2nd place: Emanuele Costantino, Properties of Photonic Band Gap Material at Microwave Frequencies: Application to Ultrarefraction, University of Miami

3rd place: Wesam Azaizeh, Increased Requirement for yKu Function in cdc 13-1 Mutant Saccharomyces Cerevisiae, Barry University

Poster Presentation Results

Three Students Tied for First Place

1st place: Amelia Bahamonde, Withaferin A Promotes Neuroblastoma Cell Differentiation and Cell Death: Implications for Therapy, University of Miami

1st place: Alejandro Hernandez, Kinetic and Mechanism Studies of U(VI) Bearing Groundwater Treated with Sodium Silicate at the Savannah River Site, Florida International University

1st place: Sarah Mitchell, Investigating Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) Limitations and Potential for Detection of Gopher Tortoise Subsurface Nests within South Florida Soils, Florida Atlantic University

FAU Hosts First U.S. Clinical Trial for Lewy Body Dementia

There are currently no medications available to specifically treat Lewy Body dementia (LBD). FAU's College of Medicine is spearheading the South Florida site for the first U.S. clinical trail for LBD. Read more from FAU.

The Research Park at Florida Atlantic University Releases its 2015 Results and Report to the Community. Venture Capital is up, Patents are up and the Overall Economic Impact on the Region was $849 Million

The Research Park at Florida Atlantic University reported another year of solid growth for year--end 2015. In its Report to the Community, the Research Park documents significant expansion, reflecting its success in creating a productive environment for technology, high-growth companies. Read more from the Research Park at FAU.

The New SLENDR Technique: Protein Labeling in the Developing Brain by Genome Editing

Researchers at Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience (MPFI) have created a new scalable, efficient and cost-effective method to accurately and rapidly locate proteins within brain cells. Read more from Mx Planck.

Indian River State College Making its Mark in Research Conferences

Two recent graduates from Indian River State College (IRSC) were recognized at the Florida Academy of Science 2016 Annual Conference with awards for work they did as students at IRSC. Kornelia Fillmer was graduate recipient of the Outstanding Poster Presentation for her poster, “Genomic Characterization of Tropical Soda Apple Mosaic Virus.” Chris Holland was the undergraduate recipient of the Outstanding Poster Presentation for his research entitled “Isolation, genome Assembly, and Analysis of Mycobacteriophage Snap Tap”.

In addition, 12 IRSC students participated in the Florida Gulf Coast University 2nd Annual Florida Science Education Alliance-Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science (SEA-PHAGES) Symposium. The symposium is a discovery-based undergraduate research program that is jointly administered by members of the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Science Education division.

IRSC will also participate in the Sunshine State Scholars program hosted by the Florida Education Foundation to be held in Orlando. IRSC faculty will staff a booth at which Florida high school STEM scholars will have the opportunity to meet with the science faculty and extract DNA from fruit samples. ng students enrolled in its programs.

Life Sciences South Florida Seeking Webinar Presenters for Fall 2016

To foster innovation and discussion of major trends and issues in life sciences, Life Sciences South Florida sponsors a monthly webinar series featuring talks by some of the top scientists, researchers, entrepreneurs and innovators in the state. We are currently seeking presenters for Fall 2016 and Spring 2017. See past webinars. Please contact Dr. Paul Horton, Assistant Dean at Indian River State College, if interested.

Upcoming Events:

LSSF June 2016 Webinar
"Toward Sea-Level Rise Solutions in South Florida: Envisioning and Adaptation for the Future of the Natural-Built Environment"

  • June 1 @ 1:00 p.m.

Presented by

  • Ali Mostafavi, Assistant Professor, OHL School of Construction, FIU
  • Marilys Nepomechie, Associate Dean, College of Architecture + The Arts, FIU
  • Tiffany Troxler, Director, Sea Level Rise Solutions Center, FIU & Research Associate Professor, FIU

On June 1st, log in as "guest" via

Stay tuned for an invitation with more details!