Sunday, November 28, 2010

The 9th Annual SURSCA "Evening Gala of RSCA" breaks its own records!

On the evening of November 17th 2010, SURSCA (the Society for Undergraduate Research, Scholarly and Creative Activities) held it’s 9th annual “Gala Evening of Research, Scholarly and Creative Activities”! Begun in 2002 as its signature event the Gala has been held by SURSCA each Fall since then and has regularly drawn 25-30 presenters to showcase their scholarship from across the campus. This year, some 42 presenters from a wide variety of disciplines presented and/or performed their work. Collectively, more than 175 people attended the event throughout the evening. This represents the largest group of presenters and attendees in the history of SURSCA.
In addition to presentations on economic trends and rehabilitation strategies to treat children with cerebral palsy, posters also covered topics like spatial reasoning by cows (measured by GPS technology), zebra fish models of heart disease and tissue engineering in cancer biology. Several topics from Physics, Psychology, Economics, Food Science, and Health/Human Performance, Biotechnology, English and Chemistry as well as others rounded out the presentation line-up. The evening was capped by a beautiful piano performance from a Psychology/Music double major! Chancellor Van Galen delivered a keynote address and SURSCA President Tim Morris discussed the impact of undergraduate research on his education as well as the opportunities that have been generated by this work across the campus. When Tim quoted a recent Counsel on Undergraduate Research (CUR) review team-member who said “UWRF is a undergraduate RSCA power in the nation”, the audience gave a load cheer!
In addition to the keynote, CAS Dean Brad Caskey and Education and Professional Studies Dean Fay Perkins both discussed the impact of undergraduate RSCA in their schools and across the campus. Dr. Perkins cited the efforts of faculty in her school to develop and integrate research into their courses while Dr. Caskey compared the work done here at UWRF in advanced biotechnology to that done at Purdue University Graduate School.
Altogether, some 42 presentations were made and more than 175 people attended from across the campus and the River Falls community. Again, this was the single largest turnout in the 9 year history of the SURSCA “Gala”! Next year, we move to the Ballroom!!!
Now our RSCA students across the campus have turned their attention to final abstract submissions for the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR 2011) that were due by the 19th!!! Hopefully we topped our total from last year of 62 presentations….another historic first!

Chemistry Department Summer 2010 RSCA

During the summer of 2010, students Eric Serum and Joe Emery, in collaboration with Dr. David Rusterholz and the UWRF Chemistry Department, conducted organic synthesis research in the pursuit of making molecules analogous to the substance called icilin. Icilin is nearly 200 times more potent than menthol in causing a cold sensation on the human tongue or skin. Understanding the cold receptor, and the way in which icilin binds to it, is still in its infancy.The goal of the research was to use the basic tools of medicinal chemistry to synthesize compounds that were designed to mimic the key components of the icilin structure. These compounds are planned to be tested this fall to determine the importance or non-importance of specific functional groups in the ability of icilin to cause a cooling sensation. This research is a continuation of an active program in the Chemistry Department to synthesize and explore a variety of clinically relevant molecules.

English Department Summer 2010 RSCA

Dr. Lissa Schneider-Rebozo, Associate Professor in the Department of English received a UW System IRE (Institute on Race and Ethnicity) Curriculum Development grant for the 2010-11 fiscal year. This grant supports the development of a new course on Modern East Asian Film and Literature. Included in the grant is support money for a student researcher, Madeline Page, and this faculty/student team began their work through the summer of 2010. Course development is moving along well as a result of the research done by Madeline this past summer and it should be ready to roll-out soon.

Math Department Summer 2010 RSCA

During the summer of 2010, Dr. Kathy Tomlinson of the Mathematics Department reports that her student Mame Fatou Thiam (Mathematics Major) participated in the SUMSRI-Summer Undergraduate Mathematics Research Institute at Miami University in Ohio. With four other students in the program she investigated fairness of judging in subjective competitions such as figure skating or scholarship awards. The team used Monte Carlo simulations with beta-binomial distributions to find two patterns depending on whether the panel of judges is somewhat homogeneous or somewhat heterogeneous. Mame Fatou is a McNair Scholar and was able to do this research primarily because of her participation in and preparation from the McNair Program. Kathy Tomlinson was her McNair Faculty Mentor.

Wisconsin Science and Technology Symposium, July 22-23, 2010

On July 22-23, the 3rd Annual Wisconsin Science and Technology Symposium (WSTS 2010) was held at the UW-Green Bay. This annual gathering brings together scientists, industrial partners and politicians from across the state to share research from the comprehensive campuses and technology industries of the region. Again this year, two major laboratories from the Biology Department participated in this premier statewide meeting. Both the UWRF Tissue and Cellular Innovation Center and the UWRF Zebra Fish Laboratory presented a combined total of 8 posters and two oral presentations. This total, which amounted to approximately 31% of the posters at the meeting exceeded any other campus represented and was very well received with a great deal of interest being shown by other participants toward the biological research done here at UWRF. Drs. Lyden and Huang, the respective directors of the labs, were again joined this year by undergraduate researchers who presented their work in the all day poster sessions. Meanwhile Dr Lyden presented a podium talk entitled “In-vitro 3D Artificial Tumor Microenvironments as Potential Models of Clinical Disease“ which focused on the TCIC human tumor 3D modeling project being conducted in collaboration with Marshfield Clinic and the Rivers Cancer Center. Dr. Huang also presented a podium talk entitled “Zebrafish Make a Splash in Drug Discovery“ which highlighted work done in his lab in collaboration with researchers at the UW-LaCrosse Mycology Discovery Lab. UWRF student presenters were: Tim Morris, Kevin Rixmann and Reid Kuen from the TCIC as well as David Mankowski and Johnathan Emahiser from the Zebra Fish Lab.

UWRF Posters presented were entitled:

C6, a Potential Drug for Heart Failure by Suppressing Inflammation.
Johnathan Emahiser and Cheng-Chen Huang, UW-River Falls

Screening Synthetic Chemicals and Purified Compounds from Natural Sources for Attenuative Action against AA-induced Heart Failure in Zebrafish.
David A Mankowski and Cheng-Chen Huang, UW-River Falls

Modeling complex cervical carcinoma cell-derived structures in 3D “artificial tissue”cultures.
Brittany Lee and Timothy Lyden, UW-River Falls

The isolation and 3D culture of putative fetal and adult cardiac stem cell populations from avian, bovine and porcine heart samples.
Timothy Lyden, Mike Martin, Victor Piazza, John Magnuson and Travis Cordie, UW-River Falls and Spring Point Project LLC

Modeling and characterization of primary and cell-line derived artificial breast cancer tissues produced using 3D culture methods.
Kevin Rixmann and Timothy Lyden, UW-River Falls; Ray Haselby, Marshfield Clinic; Peter Dahlberg, Rivers Cancer Center

Longterm 3-D cultures of HEK-293 cells demonstrate clear evidence of unique
kidney tissue-like differentiation.
Miyuki Bessho, Timothy Lyden, UW-River Falls

Seeking to generate “induced pluripotent stem” (IPS) cells from the cervical cancer cell line, HeLa.
Timothy A Morris Jr., Samuel Lifton, Reid Kuen, Timothy Lyden, UW-River Falls

Modeling human cancer with complex 3D cultures using rudimentary tissue
engineering methods.
Timothy Lyden, UW-River Falls; Ray Haselby, Marshfield Clinic; Peter Dahlberg, Rivers Cancer Center; Michael Pickart, UW-Stout