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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    25th UBRP conference dances with the arts

    File Photo/ The Daily Wildcat Shaina Hasan, a public relations officer for UBRP, and her sister Shemonti Hasan,ambassadors president, talk about the politics of science, health and education in the UBRP office Monday, Jan. 16, 2012.

    Dance and science are going to intersect next Saturday.

    More than 100 students will be presenting their research at Stevie Eller Dance Theater on Jan. 25 from noon to 5 p.m. for the 25th Annual Undergraduate Biology Research Program (UBRP) Conference. The keynote speaker joining them this year is Zeb Hogan, UBRP alumnus and host of the National Geographic show, “Monster Fish”.

    “As a scientist, you have to be able to communicate with the public, kids and other scientists in ways that all of those groups can understand. It’s a skill and an art,” said Carol Bender, director of UBRP.

    The research being presented will range from cancer to Gila monster studies. In addition to research, however, this year’s conference will also feature many new additions for all ages, including an interpretive dance by a group of UA dance majors, a scavenger hunt and a “brain zoo” from the UA Neuroscience Club.

    “It’ll be a lot of fun, whether you know science or not, whether you are a student or not,” said Assistant Director of UBRP and UBRP alumnus Jennifer Cubeta.

    Since its establishment in 1988, UBRP has grown from 13 faculty members and 19 students to approximately 140 students and over 240 UBRP faculty members. The program receives funding from multiple sources, including the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.

    “I think there are a couple of reasons UBRP is so successful,” Bender said. “The first is that we have amazing students, and the second is that we have incredible faculty mentors. When you bring people who are doing research together and students in an atmosphere where there is the research infrastructure that we have at the University of Arizona, wonderful things happen.”

    Because of the program, more than 920 articles showcasing student research have been published in national scientific journals. There has also been more than 1000 off-campus research presentations that have included student work, Bender said.

    “UBRP taught me that every contribution to science, no matter how large or small, is worthwhile. … I am more responsible for contributing,” said Monica Chaung, a UBRP senior majoring in molecular and cellular biology. “The faculty and students in UBRP are very collaborative. It is a fresh take on what it means to be a part of a scientific community.”

    Chaung studies the adverse neurological events experienced by some people taking statins, a class of drugs used to lower cholesterol. Chaung works with Dr. Linda Restifo in the department of neuroscience.

    “It’s given me more perspective on what the research world is like. … It’s helped me figure out how I want to incorporate research in my career,” said Shemonti Hasan, a UBRP senior also studying molecular and cellular biology.

    Hasan studies the Neisseriaceae bacteria, which includes the strain that causes the sexually transmitted infection gonorrhea, and works with Magdalene So in the department of immunobiology.

    The event will close with an awards ceremony that will honor select students and faculty members.

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