The Summer of 2006 is history and
what a summer it was! Students were involved in a wide range
of research projects on four
different continents through UBRP and BRAVO! The
projects ranged from characterizing a new species of squirrel
in the Baja,
to developing a new biomaterial for use in endovascular grafts!
Students doing research this summer ranged in age from 15 (students
from San Miguel and Tucson High) to 48 (yes, we have some very
interesting non-traditional, second career undergraduate researchers!).
On the funding front, the competing renewal of our grant from
the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), which provides
the greatest amount of support for UBRP, was renewed for another
four years (starting September 1, 2006). In addition to providing
continued funding for UBRP and BRAVO!, funds from the new grant
will help us to implement a new e-mentoring system as a strategy
for retaining more students, and particularly women and minority
students, in the science pipeline. This new initiative will
kick off on August 28 when we will hold a panel discussion
on the topic of "Women in Science." Panelists include
Drs. F. Ann Walker (Chemistry), Martha Hunter (Entomology),
Marilyn Halonen (Pharmacology) and John Hildebrand (Neurosciences).
An e-mentoring blog has been created and students and faculty
will be able to sign up to participate in the blog at the panel
and at any time by stopping by the UBRP office.
To augment the e-mentoring activity and to further acquaint
students with opportunities in science, we will offer a series
of science career panels through out the academic
year. These are free and open to everyone. On September 11
the panel will
focus on careers in bioindustry; October 9 will be on internships
and post-bac opportunities; and November will feature health
careers. All of the panels will be at 4 pm, in
Life Sciences South 440. Each will be followed by an informal
during which students are encouraged to network with the panelists.
In addition, this fall we will be hearing from all of the BRAVO!
students who did research during the summer of 2006 in foreign
labs. The first datablitz is scheduled for Monday,
September 18 at 4 pm in LSS 340. Christina Kwong and Kevin
both of whom were in labs at Wuhan University in Wuhan,
China, will speak. Christina did research in a lab working to better
understand the structure of the Hepatitis B virus; Kevin was
involved in a project to study thermostable subtilisin-like
proteases, which are of interest because of their potential
industrial applications. More datablitzes will be scheduled
later in the semester. These are free and open to all. Students
interested in applying for a BRAVO! experience are particularly
encouraged to attend.
Finally, as reported in the June '06 issue of the Gazette,
Dr. Michael A. Wells, Regents Professor of Biochemistry
and Molecular Biophysics, and founder of UBRP, died May 23, 2006,
from complications arising from treatment of an aggressive
form of leukemia. Dr. Wells had a huge impact in developing
the culture on this campus that supports undergraduate research.
He was devoted to science education for students at all levels
beginning with kindergarteners. He emphasized the excitement
of the process of discovery in everything he did. We will be
celebrating Dr. Wells's life and legacy at a Mike Wells
Fest on October 28 and
29. There will be a day of science (October
28), followed by a reception and a breakfast at the Tucson
Botanical Garden (October 29). For more information, please
Those who would like to contribute to the continuation of Dr.
Wells's work may do so in two ways. Contributions can be made
in honor of Dr. Wells to the UBRP Fund, a fund that has been
established to endow UBRP so that it will become a permanent
part of what we offer students at the University of Arizona.
Checks should be made payable to the University of Arizona
Foundation and mailed to Carol Bender, Director, UBRP, Life
Sciences South, room 348; P.O. Box 210106, The University of
Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721-0106 (write "UBRP Fund" in
the memo section of the check). In addition, an endowment has
been established in Dr. Wells's name to support undergraduate
research in biochemistry and molecular biophysics. To contribute
please send checks payable to the University of Arizona, Attention:
Kriss Pope Department of Biochemistry and Molecular
Biophysics, University of Arizona, P.O. Box 210088, Tucson,
AZ 85721-0088. Contributions to both of these funds are fully
tax deductible and will be directed to continuation of the
vitally important work inspired by Dr. Wells.
Carol Bender, Director of UBRP and BRAVO!