UCLA hosts the ACS Southern California Undergraduate Research Conference

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On Saturday, April 29, the UCLA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry hosted the annual ACS Southern California Undergraduate Research Conference. 

Over 270 undergraduates, graduates and faculty attended, along with family members of presenters.

Tom Cahoon, Director of Outreach and Educational Initiatives, organized the event and Professors Heather Tienson and Alex Spokoyny served as judges, along with faculty from Southern California universities. Our department’s undergraduate student organizations – Alpha Chi Sigma, BiochemASE, and SMACS served as session judges and general volunteers. 

SCURC17 3 0The day opened with a welcome from Professor and Chair Catherine Clarke, who introduced the keynote speaker, Professor Dianne Newman from Caltech (pictured right). The keynote address was “The importance of growing slowly: roles for redox-active “antibiotics” in microbial survival and development.”

Two poster sessions occurred throughout the morning and afternoon, as well as ten oral presentation sessions. There were close to 90 poster presenters and 48 oral presenters at the conference. 

At the conclusion of the conference, Chair Clarke presided over an awards ceremony for best orals and poster presentations.   

ACS representative and CSU Northridge Chemistry Professor Henry Abrash was pleased with the day’s events and attendance, stating it was one of the highest attended in the history of the conference.  


Professor and Chair Catherine Clarke (far right) congratulates seven of the ten oral presentation award winners.  


Professor and Chair Catherine Clarke (far right) congratulate the eight poster presentation award winners.

The oral presentation awardees were Alexis Rochelle Basa (CSU Los Angeles), Monna Tabarani (CSU Fullerton), Kristen Fregoso (Mount Saint Mary’s University), Joshua Martin (UCLA), Ricardo S. Cruz (CSU Fullerton), Ellisha Davis (Mount Saint Mary’s University), Jeff Wang (UCLA), Loi Nguyen (CSU Fullerton), Elen Artashyan (CSU Northridge), Annabelle Cantu (CSU Long Beach).

The poster session awardees were Sam Mahdi (CSU Northridge), Karen Tom (CSU Fullerton),  Sarah Baker (CSU Fullerton), Katey McCoy (CSU Fullerton), Ervin Irimpan (UC Irvine), Kevin Ye (USC), Gregory Dawson (SDSU), Eileen Lek (UC Riverside).


The poster presentations took place in the outside atrium in front of the Court of Sciences (CS) lecture halls. 

The oral presentations took place in Young Hall, the Molecular Sciences Building, and the CS lecture halls. 

For more information, visit the conference website.

Article by Tom Cahoon, photos by Tom Cahoon, Abraham Gracian, and Prof. Alex Spokoyny.