Radford University biology majors attend microbiology conference

Six Radford University biology majors attended the annual meeting of the Virginia branch of the American Society for Microbiology in Norfolk on Nov. 3-4.

The conference was hosted by Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) and provided a great opportunity for those interested in medical school to interact with EVMS faculty on location. All student attendees presented posters and some were authors on multiple posters presented. Students presenting posters were reviewed by attending professors and received many positive comments. Radford University was very well-represented by these young professionals, said Joyce Caughron, assistant professor of biology.

The conference included oral presentations from clinical, governmental and academic scientists, as well as industry professionals. This was an excellent opportunity for students to gain exposure to the scholarly breadth within the field of microbiology.

Radford University students attend conference

Attendees included (from left to right): Colin Semple, Kelly Hodges, Daniel Harrison, Dr. Georgia Hammond, Kendalyn Hersh, Dr. Joy Caughron, Dr. Justin Anderson, Charles Branscom, and Josh Tulppo. Photo courtesy of Dr. Robert Hersh.

During special sessions on Saturday, students attended a skills training session on grants and fellowships, while faculty were busy sharing information and experiences with CURES (course-based undergraduate research experiences). Friday evening, all were treated to a talk by the American Society for Microbiology distinguished Waksman Foundation Lecturer Melanie Mormille from Missouri University of Science and Technology titled “Because of Soap Lake: Reflections on the lake’s impacts on lab and beyond.” Mormille specializes in environmental biology and extremophiles.

“It was a fascinating and winding tale of how students following their passions have contributed to our understanding of a pretty unique and relatively extreme microbial environment, discovering a fascinating array of biochemical processes, some of which have led to patents,” Caughron said.

Posters presented:

  • “A Comparative Study of Antimicrobial Activity of Sangre de Drago with Respect to Age of Specimen” by Kendalyn N. Hersh*, Joyce E. Caughron, Jason E. Davis, and Jared J. Caughron
  • “Developing a Model Examining the Effects of Bacteriocins on Bacterial Metabolism of Arsenic” by Colin Semple* and Georgia Hammond
  • “Microbial Gene Expression of Arsenate Reductase in Bacteria Isolated from an Arsenic Mine” by Charles C. Branscom and Georgia Hammond
  • “Effects of Phenazines on Viruses and Mosquitoes” by Melissa Kesterson, Kelly Hodges* and Justin R. Anderson
  • “Determining the Effect Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals have on La Crosse virus replication in Vero Cells” by Daniel Harrison*, Josh Tulppo, Ben Thiss and Justin R. Anderson
  • “Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals Affect Development of Mosquito Reproductive Morphology” by Ben Thiss, Josh Tulppo*, Daniel Harrison and Justin R. Anderson

Nov 30, 2017
Mary Hardbarger