Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity

December 19, 2011

OMA&D Students Honored at National Research Conference

Four University of Washington students affiliated with the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity’s Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity (IMSD), Stipends for Training Aspiring Researchers (STAR) and the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) won awards at the 11th Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) held Nov. 9-12, in St. Louis, Mo.

Klondy Canales, Annika Juhlin, Josh Matlock, and Nichole Tyler were among the eight UW students that participated in the conference designed to encourage underrepresented minority students to pursue advanced training in the biomedical and behavioral sciences, and provide faculty mentors and advisors with resources for facilitating student success.

(left to right) Nichole Tyler, Annika Juhlin, Josh Matlock and Klondy Canales

Over 3,000 students, faculty, program directors and administrators from 350 U.S. colleges and universities attended the four-day conference, with more than 1,400 students participating in poster and oral presentations in 12 disciplines.  Joining Canales, Juhlin, Matlock and Tyler from UW were seniors Denise Della, Aislinn Hays, Raymond Koopmans, and Willimark Obenza.

“The students benefitted tremendously from exposure to their first national research conference,” IMSD program director Teri Ward said. “They presented their work to an audience of experts and peers in their field from around the nation; participated in workshops for graduate programs and admissions requirements; and met with recruiters, faculty, and students affiliated with several programs across the country.”

Canales, a junior pre-science major, won the Immunology Poster Award for her research on “Characterizing Pathogenic B Cells that Cause Autoimmune Diabetes.” Juhlin, a senior bioengineering major, won the Development Biology and Genetics Poster Award for her research titled “An Alternatively Spliced Isoform of Tumor Suppressor Lkb1Kinase is Induced in Mouse Embryonic Diapause.”

Matlock, a senior majoring in both biology and psychology, won the Engineering, Physics, and Mathematics Oral Presentation and Interdisciplinary Awards for his research on “The Effect of sTnC Variants on Contraction in Rabbitt Psoas Muscle Fibers.”  Tyler, a senior bioengineering major, won an Interdisciplinary Award for her research based on “Bio-inspired Wet Reversible Adhesives, A Medical Application Designed to Mimic Nature.”

The students all collaborate closely with faculty mentors on their research projects. Canales worked with Dr. Abel Hamad from the Department of Pathology at John Hopkins University’s School of Medicine last summer. Juhlin works with Dr. C. Anthony Blau in the UW Department of Hematology, while Matlock and Tyler work with Dr. Michael Regnier and Dr. Wendy Thomas, respectively, in the UW Department of Bioengineering.

“Faculty mentors model the role of a research scientist in academia while encouraging and motivating students to pursue science,” Ward said. “In addition, they provide guidance in assisting students to achieve their research, educational, and personal goals.”

IMSD is a series of innovative services and support mechanisms aimed to increase the ability of UW biomedical graduate programs to attract, retain, and promote the success of underrepresented minority students. The principal investigator of the program is Dr. Pat Stayton, a bioengineering professor, and the co-principal investigator is Dr. Beth Traxler, a microbiology professor.

STAR, a collaboration between OMA&D and the UW School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, aims to increase the number of underrepresented students entering cardiology, pulmonary, hematology, and sleep research. Dr. Michael Portman, a UW professor of pediatrics in the Division of Cardiology, is the program’s principal investigator.

LSAMP’s mission is to increase the recruitment, retention, and graduation rate of underrepresented students in STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

(left to right) Josh Matlock, Denise Della, Annika Juhlin, Nichole Tyler, Aislynn Hays, Willimark Obenza, Raymond Koopmans, Klondy Canales