Undergraduate researchers garner awards at ABRCMS conference

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Several undergraduate researchers received presentation awards at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) on Nov 4, 2017.

ABRCMS is one of the largest communities of underrepresented minorities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), with over 4,440 attendees from more than 350 colleges and universities presenting more than 2,200 oral and poster presentations. Out of 43 UCLA undergraduate presenters, 24 won awards for their presentations – more than any other institution attending. The four-day conference was held in Phoenix, Arizona.

The following undergraduate reseachers, who conduct research in chemistry and biochemistry faculty labs, received presentation awards at the conference:

Joshua Abraham – Bowie group (Chemical Engineering major)
Nicole Filbert – Torres group (Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology major)
Alejandra Gonzalez – Spokoyny group (Chemistry- Materials Science major)
Evelyn Hernandez – Rodriguez group (Biochemistry major)
Lucas Repeta – Feigon group (Biochemistry major)
Biochemistry major Ana Verduzco (Gregory Cole group, UCLA Neurology & Medicine) also won a presentation award.
Many of these students participated in 2017 summer research programs

Presentation award winners at the 2017 Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS)

According to a UCLA Undergraduate Research Center statement, these students participate in several UCLA programs that promote diversity in the STEM fields by preparing highly competitive graduate school candidates and future researchers. Their skills and hard work were applauded and cheered Saturday night, November 4th, at the awards ceremony where each winner was individually announced within their discipline to approach the stage and collect their award. UCLA students presented in 11 of the 12 scientific disciplines at the conference: Physiology, Neuroscience, Microbiology, Immunology, Developmental Biology & Genetics, Engineering, Physics & Math, Computational & Systems Biology, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Cancer Biology, Cell Biology, and Chemistry.

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From left: Award winners biochemistry majors Ana Verduzco and Evelyln Hernandez, and chemistry major Alejandra Gonzalez.


Chemical engineering major Joshua Abraham with his award winning poster at the event.

In addition to cheering for their fellow Bruins, UCLA students congratulated their colleagues from Santa Monica College who participated in summer research at UCLA, two of whom won awards. Programs such as the summer Santa Monica College Science Research Initiative at UCLA help prepare future Bruins for success upon transferring by getting them involved in research early and teaching them important professional development skills. Expanded preparation at UCLA is offered by HHMI Pathways to Success, the NIH-funded IMSD (Initiative to Maximize Student Development) and MARC (Maximizing Access to Research Careers) programs and the UCOP-funded UC LEADS (University of California Leadership Excellence through Advanced DegreeS) program. Each of these programs is proud to support ABRCMS 2017 attendees and winners in addition to having long histories of success. Their participants have gone on to post graduate programs at esteemed institutions such as Harvard, Columbia, Stanford, MIT, Johns Hopkins, Cornell, as well as campuses throughout the UC system. “Thanks are also due to the dedicated faculty at UCLA that provide hands-on mentoring in their labs, who have made a significant difference in the development of these student researchers.  No doubt more great things will come from these students!” the statement said.