Student Researchers Share Findings at 2022 Student Research Symposium

Published on 19 April 2022

The work of 21 UHSP student researchers was on display April 2 at the 13th Annual Student Research Symposium. The event, which annually provides students with leading-edge opportunities to participate in research alongside faculty and staff, featured 16 poster submissions and five podium presentations focused on a variety of topics.

“Our student researchers are incredibly passionate about their projects and worked tirelessly over the past year to prepare for this year’s symposium,” said Haley Johnson, Pharm.D., BCPS, assistant professor of pharmacy practice at UHSP. “This event offered an amazing opportunity for our students to showcase their work and for members of our campus community to learn about all of the unique research efforts that are happening at UHSP.”

Each year, as part of the Student Research Symposium, students are paired with faculty mentors and work closely with them to develop poster or podium sessions for the event. Those attending the symposium were able to view the various student research projects and ask student researchers in-depth questions about their research process.

This year, the work of participating student researchers was also reviewed by a faculty judging panel. Panel members included:

  • Whitney Anthonysamy, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology
  • Anastasia Armbruster, Pharm.D. ’09, FACC, BCPS, BCCP, associate professor of pharmacy practice
  • Tricia Berry, B.S. ’94, Pharm.D. ’95, BCPS, assistant dean of student academic affairs and professor of pharmacy practice
  • Laura Challen, Pharm.D., MBA, BCPS, BCACP, associate professor of pharmacy practice
  • Bahaa Elgendy, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicinal chemistry
  • Michelle Jeon, Pharm.D., BCACP, assistant professor of pharmacy practice
  • Dana Morrone, Ph.D., assistant professor of biochemistry
  • Ruipu Mu, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemistry

The panel assessed posters based on the student’s visual delivery of the scientific content, while podium presentations were judged on the student’s oral communication, visuals and content.

The 2022 podium presentation winner was junior Nate Ross who investigated how the activation of dynorphin cells in the dorsal nucleus accumbens shell region of the brain affected feeding behavior in mice. Through his research, Ross discovered that even when mice are given rewarding food in an environment where they are hungry, there is an inhibitory effect on consumption when dynorphin cells are activated.

“Having the ability to do research at UHSP has been so important to me,” said Ross. “Through my work in the lab, I have developed a love for behavioral research, and my goal is to eventually become a neuroscientist. I hope to use my knowledge and research skills to better the world, and I found my calling because UHSP has provided me with the ability to do research since the moment I set foot on campus.”

Senior Sammie Harker took first place for her poster presentation highlighting the pharmacological characterization of delta opioid agonist signaling properties. Through her research efforts, Harker assisted Susruta Majumdar, Ph.D., associate professor of medicinal chemistry and pharmacology at UHSP, and his team in their work to create safer, non-opioid analgesics for pain relief. During her time in the Majumdar lab, Harker worked to help characterize different drug compounds through two signaling pathways.

“I have always been interested in the clinical side of science, but my work with the Majumdar lab showed me how I could combine my clinical interests with research,” said Harker. “This knowledge will be incredibly important to me as I pursue my Ph.D. and my dream career in the field of neuroscience.”

Since 2009, the Student Research Symposium has provided more than 400 students with the opportunity to showcase their research. The symposium represents one of many opportunities for UHSP students at every level and degree path to engage in meaningful research alongside expert faculty and clinicians.

Learn more about ways students can engage in collaborative research at UHSP.

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