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CNHS Undergraduate Research Symposium

Undergraduate Research Celebration Week

The CNHS Undergraduate Research Symposium provides an opportunity for students within the College of Natural and Health Sciences to present their current or recently completed research projects in a poster format. Research projects that are in progress or in the early stages of development are also encouraged. The research may have been performed as part of a course, an Honors Research Fellowship or an independent project conducted with a faculty mentor. The symposium will provide participants with outstanding preparation for graduate or professional school and future presentations, and will foster greater awareness of undergraduate research within the college.

The CNHS Undergraduate Research Symposium will be held on April 24, 2015. All participants are required to register by April 10.

Poster presentation

All participants will be eligible for an award for best poster presentation.

All participants will be eligible for an award for best poster presentation. The posters will be judged by faculty based on the following criteria:

  1. Clear focus or central research question
  2. Sound research methodology
  3. Clear presentation of results/product/performance or expected outcome and ability to answer questions
  4. Progress on the project to date
  5. Contribution to the field or discussion of potential impact

Suggested presentation guidelines
The purpose of the poster should be to engage audience members in a discussion of the research. It is recommended that the poster include a limited amount of text with the majority of the poster space be dedicated to graphics (graphs, photographs, schematics, maps, etc.). The poster should be no larger than 3 feet tall by 4 feet wide. Posterboard and pushpins will be provided to mount the posters.

Keynote Seminar

Marine Toxins

2015 Keynote Speaker

Sara McGrath, Ph.D.

FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition

Sara McGrath is a chemist at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, in College Park, MD. McGrath received her bachelor's degree in chemistry from Illinois Wesleyan University, and her doctorate in analytical chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. McGrath was a postdoctoral researcher at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Pharmacology Department, in Baltimore, MD. In 2006 she became a staff fellow at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, GA, developing mass spectrometry-based assays for protein toxins ricin and anthrax. McGrath joined the FDA in 2010, researching analytical techniques for characterization and quantitation of gluten proteins in food products. Her current research is focused on development of mass spectrometric methods to detect marine toxins, in support of FDA's regulatory efforts.

┬╗Chemicals, Contaminants and Toxins: Analytical Approaches to Solve Seafood Safety Challenges at the FDA

Seafood is one of the most highly traded commodities in the world. To protect public health, it is vital that domestic and imported seafood is safe, wholesome and properly labeled. The responsibility for safe seafood in the marketplace rests with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA,) Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN). Through the Food Safety Modernization Act, FDA is working to introduce safety standards and practices to prevent contamination of food before it occurs, with standards grounded in food safety research and science. Research efforts at CFSAN towards safe seafood are broad and varied, and encompass issues ranging from analytical methods for detection of bacterial pathogens and chemical contaminants in seafood products to mislabeling of seafood in markets and restaurants.

Some toxins associated with seafood illnesses occur naturally in certain marine organisms, while other toxins are produced by marine algae that accumulate in organisms that feed on the algae. Often marine toxins are not destroyed by heating or cooking, so contaminated seafood products must be identified and removed before reaching the marketplace. FDA is working to develop robust, reliable and sensitive detection methods for toxins so that regulatory guidance levels can be set for harvested seafood. Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) has been a vital tool in research efforts at CFSAN to identify and quantify toxins that may be present in fish and shellfish. LC-MS methods being developed to detect Brevetoxin and Tetrodotoxin in fish and shellfish will be used to ensure species native to the Gulf of Mexico are safe to consume.


Register now!
All participants are required to register by April 10. Please complete the registration form.