Six UALR students present at biomedical research conference; bring home awards

Fourth-year Donaghey Scholar Saad Azam recently earned first place recognition at the highly competitive Arkansas IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) conference in Fayetteville.

Azam, who won in the chemistry section for his presentation, was joined by five other UALR students participating in the conference, Oct. 18 to 19.

Azam’s project, “High-Throughput Electrochemical Characterization of Fuel Cell Catalysts,” was the result of a prestigious summer internship at the California Institute of Technology’s Jet Propulsion Lab and was funded, in part, by the Arkansas Space Grant Consortium based at UALR.

UALR students
He was joined by Lafayette DeRamus, Asad Akhter, Taylor McClanahan, Javier Ortiz-Silva, and Zach Reed, who all competed in the conference and performed extremely well against undergraduate and graduate students from across Arkansas.

• DeRamus presented “Optimization of CIGS Solar Cells through AFORS-HET simulation program” and placed second in the physics section. He conducted his research in Dr. Jinbiao Cui’s laboratory at UALR. His work was funded, in part, by the Arkansas Science and Technology Authority’s ASSET II project.

• Akhter presented “Novel Fabrication of Carbon Nanotube Arrays.” His work at UALR was under the mentorship of Dr. Brian Berry of UALR’s chemistry department and funded by a National Science Foundation grant.

• McClanahan presented “Longevity of Wild and Captive Orcas.” She was mentored by Dr. Lakeshia Jones of UALR’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics and Dr. Jim Winter with the University Science Scholars and Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation. Her work was sponsored by the UALR’s Ronald McNair program.

• Ortiz-Silva presented “Age, Disuse, and Reambulation Effects on Cortical Bone Compartment-specific Expression of Sclerotin in Osteocytes.” His research at UAMS was under the mentorship of Dr. Dana Gaddy and supported by UAMS’ Summer Undergraduate Research Program.

• Reed presented “Interactions of Histones H2A, H3 and H4 Required for Proper Chromosome Segregation During Cell Division.” He conducted his work at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville under the direction of Dr. Ines Pinto, and it was supported by the INBRE summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program.

Azam, DeRamus, Akter, McClanahan, and Ortiz-Silva are all members of the University Science Scholars and/or Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation programs at UALR.

The National Institutes of Health sponsors INBRE to strengthen biomedical research and promote coordination of resources between selected states.

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