How do fungicides affect honeybee health? How do female Gila monsters move differently from males? Do statins really affect your nervous system negatively? Why does the Japanese Giant Flying Squirrel like to eat certain plant parts? These questions are just a sample of the research projects which students in the Undergraduate Biology Research Program (UBRP) conduct.
On Saturday, January 25th, UBRP celebrated its 25th year at its annual conference, held in the Stevie Eller Dance Theater on the University of Arizona campus from noon to 5PM. More than 105 undergraduate students presented at the conference, representing the University of Arizona, Northern Arizona University, Depauw University, Calvin College, Amherst University, Luther College, and Miami University.
The event began with an alumni reception open to the general public, which featured family-friendly demonstrations and activities, including Extract Your Own DNA, Stop the Spread of Germs, The World of Neuroscience, Marine Discovery, free 5-minute back rubs from the Arizona Stressbusters, the “25 Years of UBRP” alumni slideshow, and Arthropod Diversity (where visitors handled a tarantula!).
Our main program began with the “Bio Fish Dance,” a beautiful piece of choreography performed by Rachel Holman, Brianna Jahn, Anna Keller, and Gabrielle McNeillie, graduate students from the UA School of Dance. We were honored to host keynote speaker Dr. Zeb Hogan, Assistant Research Professor at University of Nevada – Reno and host of National Geographic TV show “Monster Fish,” who gave a dynamic talk on curiosity, passion, discovery, and exploration.
Dr. Johnny Fares was awarded the Outstanding UBRP Mentor Award, and Dr. Jennifer Brum was awarded the Outstanding UBRP Graduate Student, Postdoctoral Fellow, or Research Specialist Award. In acknowledgment of her many years of hard work, Dr. Lynne Oland presented UBRP Director Carol Bender with a engraved brick in the UA Women’s Plaza of Honor, and the UBRP Ambassadors gave Carol a personalized “thank-you” book filled with comments from appreciative alumni, students, and mentors.
The conference was a true celebration of 25 years of scientific research, commitment, and dedication! Thank you to all of you who helped make this event special!