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Student Research Featured in RISE Symposium

Dr. Ben Bahr and keynote speaker Dr. Joanna Cooper
Dr. Ben Bahr and keynote speaker Dr. Joanna Cooper

The RISE Program moved its annual End-of-Summer Research Symposium (August 24th) to the University Annex allowing, for the first time, a keynote address and oral presentations. After Provost David Ward's welcoming remarks, three students gave oral presentations (Sandra Huneycutt, Kaitlan Smith, and Nicole Stumblingbear), and Dr. Maria Santisteban (Biology) talked about the latest gene-editing technology CRISPR-CAS and its use in her summer course in Molecular Biology.  More than 20 students (mostly biology and chemistry majors) gave poster presentations, covering a wide range of topics, including ecology, genomics, antibiotics discovery and spectroelectrochemical analysis.  Drs. John Roe and Conner Sandefur (Biology) separately mentored two large teams of undergraduate researchers (nine in total) who presented their work.  The symposium concluded with a keynote address by UNCP Biology alumna Dr. Joanna Cooper '11, who shared her personal journey in higher education and her graduate research into the molecular basis of circadian rhythms.

 The RISE Program is designed to prepare students for research in the biomedical and behavioral sciences, and to enhance the environment for scientific research at UNCP.  It provides funding for student research (including summer research) and for related activities, including conference presentations. RISE Program Director Dr. Rachel Smith, Co-director Dr. Robert Poage, and Gloria Gray (RISE Program Coordinator) were on hand to support and encourage students in their presentations.  

In addition to the RISE Program, external academic institutions and funding agencies, such as the National Science Foundation, sponsored several of the student research opportunities. Host institutions included Georgia Institute of Technology, Miami University, North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, UNC Charlotte, and Virginia Commonwealth University.

The RISE program is funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.  Students who are interested in joining the program should contact Dr. Rachel Smith (Program Director), Dr. Robert Poage (Co-Program Director), or Prof. Sailaja Vallabha (Co-Program Director).  To learn about other research internships and out-of-classroom opportunities offered through the Biology Department click here or click on the "Student Resources" link on the right sidebar of the Biology website.