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Virginia Tech students will present at National Conference on Undergraduate Research

April 1, 2016

2016 National Conference on Undergraduate Research participants
Some of the 2016 Virginia Tech student participants at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research. Top row (left to right): Alyssa Brunal, Xiao Fu, and Robert Fuchs. Middle (left to right): Mellanee Gilkerson, Amber Jurgensen, and Dimple Mozhi. Bottom (left to right): Joe Mrava, Austin Parris, and Hayden Tse. Not pictured: Alyssa Debra, Kendall Hammer, Hyun Kang, Katherine Olson, Megan Richardson, Ali Roghanizad, Kendall Seeley, and Adam White.

Virginia Tech will have 17 student representatives at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research, taking place April 7-9 at the University of North Carolina Asheville.

This is the highest number of Virginia Tech students accepted to present at the prestigious conference, now in its 30th year. The presenters represent five of Virginia Tech’s undergraduate colleges.

Five students will give oral presentations, including:

  • Alyssa Brunal of Charlottesville, Virginia, earned an undergraduate degree in psychology from the College of Science and a current doctoral student in translational biology, medicine, and health. The presentation title is titled, “Reward-related functional connectivity during social and non-social choice in social anxiety disorder.
  • Xiao Fu, a senior majoring in architecture in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies. The presentation is titled, “Using mobile devices to facilitate the application of portable tunes mass damper for floor vibration control.”
  • Amber Jurgensen of Garnet Valley, Pennsylvania, a senior majoring in architecture in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies. The presentation is titled, “A study of vibration serviceability on monumental stairs.”
  • Ali Roghanizad, an accelerated undergraduate and master’s degree student in mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering. The presentation title is, “The application of bioheat perfusion sensors to quantify pressure ischemia of explanted organs.”
  • Hayden Tse of Tsing Yi, Hong Kong, China, a senior majoring in civil and environmental engineering in the College of Engineering. The presentation title is, “Development of an algal-membrane reactor as post-treatment for microbial fuel cells treating municipal water.”

Twelve students will give poster presentations, with four on a team, including:

  • Alyssa Debra of Springfield, Virginia, a senior majoring in biochemistry in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The presentation is titled, “Isolation of new antimicrobials from growth inducing soils.”
  • Robert Fuchs, a senior majoring in biochemistry in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The presentation is titled, “Computational insights into binding of repeat unit of an antiviral copolymer to glycoprotein 120 in four strains of HIV.”
  • Mellanee Gilkerson, a senior majoring in microbiology in the College of Science. The presentation is titled, “Effect of extracellular glucose concentration on equine tendon fibroblast phenotype in vitro.”
  • Hyun Kang of Watertown, New York, a junior majoring in biochemistry in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The presentation is titled, “Sphingosine kinase in potential drug target in trypanasoma brucei.”
  • Dimple Mozhi of Annandale, Virginia, a senior majoring in human nutrition, foods, and exercise in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The presentation is titled, “Relationships of subjective and objective health literacy measures: Outcome of talking health safety.”
  • Katherine Olson, a senior majoring in environmental science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The presentation is titled, “Resource recovery and wastewater treatment through synergy of microbial fuel cell and osmotic membrane technology.”
  • Megan Richardson of Virginia Beach, Virginia, a senior majoring in biochemistry in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The presentation is titled, “Assessing the influence of flavonoids in attenuating beta-strand fibril formation of islet amyloid polypeptide by molecular dynamics simulations.”
  • Kendall Seeley of Chester, Virginia, a senior majoring in biochemistry. The presentation is titled, “The effect of PPAR? Mutation Q286P on 15-deoxy-12, 14-prostaglandin J2 binding activity."

The team presentation titled, “Accessible redesign of Maple Ridge clubhouse, Blacksburg, Virginia,” includes all residential environments and design majors from the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences:

  • Kendall Hammer of Pamplin, Virginia, a junior;
  • Joe Mrava of Williamsburg, Virginia, a senior;
  • Austin Parris, a senior; and
  • Adam White of Richmond, Virginia, a senior.

The Office of Undergraduate Research is providing funding for the students to attend the conference. The office supports and promotes undergraduate research opportunities and collaborates with colleges, departments, students, and faculty to develop a robust undergraduate research support system.

The Council on Undergraduate Research hosts the annual conference.

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