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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    7th annual Biological, Engineering, and Chemical Undergraduate Research conference kicks off this weekend

    Courtesy of Olivia Mendoza
    Director of the UA School of Government and Public Policy Brint Milward poses for a photo in his office on the third floor of the Social Sciences building. Milward analyzes terror networks and says that more often than not, terror groups are decentralized and cellular.

    The seventh annual Biological, Engineering and Chemical Undergraduate Research conference will take place on campus Saturday, allowing not only UA undergraduates, but also students from Arizona State University and Tucson high schools to publicly present their research.

    The BECUR conference, organized and run by the UA Student Chapter of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, is an event that allows students, faculty and the Tucson community to learn about the research that is being conducted right here in Southern Arizona.

    “The purpose of the conference is to provide students with the opportunity to present their research in a professional, yet comfortable environment while they compete for travel and cash prizes,” said Melissa Harnois, the current president of the UA Student Chapter of ASBMB. “This serves as excellent preparation for future attendance and participation in larger and more competitive scientific meetings.”

    These more competitive conferences include the annual ASBMB conference, as well as the American Chemical Society meeting. Presenting in these conferences provides an opportunity for undergraduates to make connections, meet other enthusiastic researchers and learn more about science and research in general.

    Over 50 students will present at this year’s BECUR conference. Additionally, there will be two oral presentations for UA student speakers, as well as a keynote address.

    The two undergraduate speakers are biochemistry seniors Benton Anderson and Ali Icenogle, and the 2016 keynote speaker is professor Michael Rossmann, Purdue University’s Hanley Distinguished Professor.

    Rossmann is a well-known biophysicist and crystallographer—someone who focuses on the study of atomic and molecular structures. His previous work includes the structure of hemoglobin, as well as the “Rossmann fold,” a protein structure involved with nucleotide binding.

    He is currently conducting research on the structure of enteroviruses, which could lead to discoveries that could change the way we combat viral infections.

    Rossmann plans to give a personal history of structural virology, focusing on advancements of virus structure and function—subjects in which he was personally involved. Topics he will be covering include animal RNA viruses such as polio, hepatitis A and the common cold, lipid enveloped viruses including dengue, yellow fever and the Zika virus and bacterial viruses.

    The conference will be held on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Henry Koffler building.

    Follow Exene Anderson on Twitter.

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