Biology Research Symposium Covers Topics from Plant Hormones to Alzheimer’s

Published: Apr 27, 2011

Curious about the fish in Plant Park’s steam? Lyndi Jordan ’12 has the answer.

How about the variation in eye color in Puerto Rican Paso Fino horses? Just ask Elizabeth Kowalski ’11.

The UT students are two of six presenting their research in the annual Department of Biology’s Spring Student Research Symposium on Friday, April 29, from 3-5 p.m. in Cass Building, room 200.

The purpose is to highlight the scholarly achievements of students and give them an opportunity to work on public speaking and communication skills, said Dan Huber, assistant professor of biology.

“Participating students get a feel for what it is like to conduct the entire scientific process including conception, execution and presentation of the project, as well as the opportunity to be leaders among their peers,” Huber said.

Kowalski is a recipient of the department’s summer research fellowship, which includes a $3,000 stipend for two months of full-time work on an independent research project supervised by a UT faculty member. She’ll continue her research on the eye color of horses.

Leif Benner ’12, who researched transgenic mouse model characterization for Alzheimer's disease, recently won first prize in a student presentation contest, the third annual Neuroscience Research Day, at Tampa General Hospital. He received one of two awards for top poster in the basic neuroscience research category.

“It was quite an experience for me in the respect that I have been working at the Byrd Alzheimer's Institute’s lab at USF since December, and this was my first poster presentation,” said Benner, a psychology major.

Huber said experiences like Benner’s will be showcased at the symposium, hopefully inspiring other students.

“Students in the audience will be made aware of the research opportunities available to them and hopefully do some personal goal-setting in order to put themselves in a position to be a part of the symposium in a future year,” Huber added.

Participants in the symposium, their presentation times and their faculty partners are as follows:

  • Elizabeth Kowalski, 3 p.m., Investigation of HERC2 and OCA2 for the cause of iris color variation in Puerto Rican Paso Fino horses, working with Rebecca Bellone
  • Leif Benner, 3:25 p.m., Transgenic mouse model characterization for Alzheimer's disease, working with Scott Husband, James Woodson and Steve Kucera 
  • Lyndi Jordan, 3:50 p.m., Fishes of Plant Park stream, working with Ray Schlueter 
  • Bethaney Cahill ’11, 4:05 p.m., Antibiotic resistance identified in medically important bacteria isolated from non-potable water sources, working with Ann Williams 
  • Bert Anderson ’12, 4:30 p.m., The molecular machines that shape DNA during replication, working with Steve Kucera and Susan Hallman
  • Stephen Shinsky ’11, 4:55 p.m., Molecular and cellular roles for auxin mediated plant growth and development, working with Eric Sikorski