XULA BUILD students at ABRCMS 2020

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Contact Info: rreyes@xula.edu

By Regi Reyes

This year, to protect students and administrators amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) fall conference was held as a completely virtual event. A limited number of participants were able to give presentations about their research through live streaming. Other participants pre-recorded their presentations and submitted them to be featured on the website alongside a submission of their research poster.

Four XULA BUILD Project Pathway Trainees submitted research and presentations. Technicians Caryn Butler, Kayla Strong and Ly Tran had their work featured during the conference alongside current Xavier student Breyanah Graham.

Breyanah Graham

Graham also participated in the NIH DPC Virtual Research Symposium earlier this year. Her research was titled “Development of 1,3-dioxoisoindolin Derivatives as S6K1 Inhibitors to Function as Potential Breast Cancer Therapeutics.” She said that she enjoyed her experiences during both conferences.

“The virtual conference was a great experience. Even though it was virtual, it still provided plenty of opportunities for networking and for me to talk about my research,” Graham said.

Other trainees were less enthusiastic about the online experience.

Caryn Butler

“‘Presenting’ on a virtual platform was quite a shift from an in-person presentation. It was less stressful in terms of being nervous about what to say, but it didn't feel as personal. The information sessions were very helpful and interesting and being able to create connections with other scientists was much easier,” Tran said. Tran is a XULA BUILD Trainee who graduated in May 2020. In her poster, she presented her work with “Infrared Imaging of Diseases.”

Butler presented her research on “Quantifying Double Minute Chromosome Touch Patterns in Hi-C Sequencing Contact Maps.” Strong conducted and presented research about “Investigating the Structure-Property Relationships of Phosphonium-Based Solid Polymer Electrolytes for Lithium Ion Batteries.”

In addition to these trainees who had their research featured during the conference, five XULA students also attended the conference and viewed the virtual poster halls. Sequoyah Bell, Kyla Bongay-Williams, Joi Colemen, Zachary Holly, and Larry Mason all actively participated in the conference, and offered support to their fellow Xavierites who were presenting their research. 

The Diversity Program Consortium Coordination and Evaluation Center at UCLA is supported by Office of the Director of the National Institutes of Health / National Institutes of General Medical Sciences under award number U54GM119024.
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