December 15, 2017 at 2:15 pm

MCB Graduate Students Host Appalachian Regional Cell Conference

Appalachian Regional Cell Conference

Appalachian Regional Cell Conference

By Debbie Walter

Nearly 100 students from Marshall University, the University of West Virginia, Ohio University and Vanderbilt University attended the sixth annual Appalachian Regional Cell Conference Dec. 2 at Ohio University.

The conference was founded in 2012 by West Virginia University, Marshall University, the University of Kentucky and Ohio University through an early career meeting grant from the American Society of Cell Biology. The goal of ASCB was to contribute to the career development of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows by providing them the resources to organize a scientific meeting while promoting scientific education, collaboration, communication and advancement. The name “Appalachian Regional Cell Conference” comes from this original goal for the “Appalachian Region” being the local portion and “Cell” for the broadly defined cellular biology topic ranging from basic science to career development as long as there is clear relevance to the broadly defined field of cell biology.

Over the last six years, the four involved universities have continued to grow and expand the conference as an independent and purely student-planned, and student-led regional conference. Each year it continues to develop and involve other universities in the Appalachian Region. Additionally, the scope of the conference now includes not only the field of cell biology but also translational, molecular, and plant biology as well as computer science and bioinformatics. We started in 2012 with 36 attendees.

Sazan Ismael presents her research at ARCC

Sazan Ismael presents her research at ARCC

Ohio University’s participants this year included nine undergraduate students, 34 graduate students, four post-doctoral fellows, 12 faculty and two staff in attendance, with 41 poster presentations. The conference sessions included student talks from each of the universities, a poster session and new this year, to promote involvement of younger students, we invited undergraduate as well as first- and second-year graduate students to participate in a three-minute thesis session.

Dr. Dana Brantley-Sieders from Vanderbilt University Medical Center, gave the keynote address on “mTOR regulation of mammary epithelial morphogenesis and breast cancer: a tale of two complexes.”

Dr. Dana Brantley-Sieders, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Dr. Dana Brantley-Sieders, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

All presenters did a phenomenal job presenting their research, and I personally learned a great deal from them. Several Ohio University students walked away with awards.

First and second place winners were Sydney Pence, Yanyang Cao, Nicole Sova, Rebecca Keogh, Kellie King, Lindor Gelin, Quyen (Jason) Luong and Proma Basu.

Our three-minute thesis participants were Avery Bogart, Mitchell Harberson, King, Pence, Sova and Rachel Zapf.

As we have become an independent conference, this event could not be made possible without a joint effort from each university’s committee members, judges as well as financial sponsors. We want to give a special thank you to this year’s sponsors: Ohio University’s Molecular and Cellular Biology Program, The Office of the Vice President for Research, The Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine Office of Advanced Studies, The Department of Biological Sciences, The Department of Biomedical Sciences, The Edison Biotechnology Institute and The Diabetes Institute; Marshall University’s Office of Research and Graduate Education and West Virginia University’s Department of Biochemistry and The Cell Biology Training Program.

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