MARC U*STAR and QBIC Mini-Symposium

On Oct. 11, 2019, students in the MARC U*STAR and QBIC programs presented research in biology, chemistry and biochemistry, psychology, environment, medicine and other fields.


9:05am - Welcome Remarks, Dr. Mauricio Rodriguez-Lanetty, Director, Quantifying Biology In the Classroom (QBIC).
Moderator: Nicole Diaz, QBIC Scholar, MARC U*STAR Fellow 

9:15am - MARC U*STAR Fellow: Jesenia Perez

Department: Cellular and Molecular Biology, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Co-Authors: Klementina Fon Tacer, Sajjan Koirala, and Patrick Ryan Potts
Presentation Title: Molecular mechanisms underlying MAGE-A protective functions against metabolic stress in cancer cells 

9:30am - MARC U*STAR Fellow: Maria Santiago

Department: Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Rhode Island
Co-Authors: Hannah Trautmann, Jamie Wandzilak, Kathryn Ramsey
Presentation Title: Investigating the control of ribosomal protein expression in Francisella tularensis

9:45am - QBIC Scholar: Marthena Phan 

Department: Psychology, Florida International University
Co-Authors: Christopher Clifford, Bethany Reeb-Sutherland
Presentation Title: The influence of maternal interactions on the visual processing of 5- and 9-month old infants

10:00am - Summer Research Internship Participant: Rolando J. Casas Fuentes

Department: Biological Sciences, Florida International University
Co-Authors: Christina Burns, Julian Mendel, Dr. DeEtta Mills
Presentation Title: Collection of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) for early plant disease detection: a comparison between passive and dynamic sampling techniques.

10:15am - QBIC Scholar: Venus Garcia

Department: Biological Sciences, Florida International University
Co-Authors: Peter Flood, Bradley Strickland, Joel Trexler
Presentation Title: Trophic Implications For The Conservation Of Amphibians In A Sub-Tropical Wetland

10:30am - Refreshment Break

10:45am - QBIC Scholar: Larissa Alfonso

College of Medicine, University of Toronto
Co-Authors: Ingrid Campbell, Mohammad H. Khan, Kenneth R. Chapman Presentation Title: The Relationship Between Pulmonary Function Biomarkers and Exhaled Nitric Oxide in Asthma Patients

11:00am - QBIC Scholar: Ridha Ahmad

Department: Biological Sciences, Florida International University
Co-Author: Diego Salazar Amoretti
Presentation Title: Investigating the role of plant flavonoid concentrations in Cycads across environmental gradients

11:15am - MARC U*STAR Affiliate: Kaytlin Alzugaray

Department: Department of Surgery, University of Miami
Co-Authors: E. Zaika, A. Jamal, R.C. Gokulan, M. Palrasu, A. Zaika Presentation Title: Regulation of Oncogenic Stress Response in Gastric Cancer

11:30am - QBIC Scholar: Ignacio Sosa

Department: Pharmacology, University of Minnesota
Co-Authors: Halena VanDeusen, Justin Drake
Presentation Title: Identification of RET transcription factors using enCHIP

11:45am - Summer Research Internship Participant: Hannah Aziz

Department: Earth and Environment, Florida International University
Co-Authors: Dr. Rene Price, Nicole Cordoba, Julian Alwakee
Presentation Title: The Chemistry of Surface water and Groundwater in Miami-Dade County

12:00pm - Lunch Break

Moderator: Sarah Alkwlani, QBIC Scholar

1:00pm - MARC U*STAR Fellow: Alexandra Tchir

Department: Immunology Division of Pathology, Johns Hopkins Co-Authors: H. Benjamin Larman, Ph.D.; and Joel Credle, Ph.D. Presentation Title: Novel Highly Multiplexed RNA Detection Assay

1:15pm - MARC U*STAR Fellow: Amanda Barreto

Department: Biomedical Engineering, Florida International University
Co-Authors: Asad M. Mirza, Daniel Chaparro, Joshua D. Hutcheson, Sharan Ramaswamy
Presentation Title: Calcified Matrix Sub-Types in Aortic Valve Leaflets Prone to Sub-Clinical Thrombosis

1:30pm - MARC U*STAR Fellow: Nicole Diaz

Department: Biological Sciences, University of Minnesota
Co-Authors: Waltman, Michael, Chen, Lihsia
Presentation Title: L1 Genetically Interacts with ras to Affect Excretory Canal Cell Development

1:45pm - Adrianna Hernandez

College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, University of Alaska
Co-Authors: Russell Hopcroft 
Presentation Title: The Effects of Environmental Changes in the Northern Gulf of Alaska on the Synthesis of Lipid in N. flemingeri and N. plumchrus from 2018 to 2019

2:00pm - Refreshment Break

2:15pm - QBIC SCholar: Julian Gonzalez

Department: Neuroscience, University of Minnesota
Co-Authors: Victoria Rogness, Rebecca Speltz, Malcom Johns, Sergey Khasabov, Donald Simone
Presentation Title: Analgesic effect of Resolvin D1 on bone cancer pain and the role of the Rostral Ventromedial Medulla. 

2:30pm - QBIC Scholar: Carolina Fernandez

Department: Biochemistry, University of Minnesota
Co-Authors: Monica Kruk, Laurie Parker
Presentation Title: Determining Drug Efficacy in a Model System for Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia by Using a Biosensor Assay to Detect Phosphorylation 

2:45pm - MARC U*STAR Fellow: Matthew Pasteris

Department: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Johns Hopkins
Co-Authors: Morgan Dasovich, Anthony K. L. Leung
Presentation Title: Building Tools to Understand the Biological Roles of Poly (ADP- ribose)

3:00pm - Undergraduate Research Society Member: Rosemarie Martinez

Department: Chemistry and Biochemistry, Florida International University
Co-Authors: Pamela K. Garcia, Thirunavukkarasu Annamalai,Yukching Tse-Dinh
Presentation Title: Mechanistic Studies of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Topoisomerase I Inhibition by Endogenous Toxin Rv1495 

3:15pm - Cristina Orozco

Miami Cancer Institute
Presentation Title: Natural products and special diets: perceptions of female breast cancer patients in Miami 

3:30pm - MARC U*STAR Affiliate: Daniel Cambron

College of Medicine, University of Minnesota
Co-Authors: Blake A Jacobson, Zhengqiang Wang, Robert Kratzke Presentation Title: Tyrosyl-DNA phosphodiesterase 2 inhibition sensitizes chemoresistant mesothelioma cells to a topoisomerase II poison

3:45pm - Summer Research Internship Participant: Elizabetta Stetsenko

Department: Biological Sciences, International Forensic Research Institute, Florida International University
Co-Authors: Chantrell Frazier, Christina Burns, Dr. DeEtta K Mills
Presentation Title: Exploration of Various DNA Polymerases for Enhanced PCR Amplification 

4:00pm - Judges confer

4:15pm - Closing Remarks - Dr. DeEtta Mills, MARC U*STAR Program Director
Awards Presentation - Amy Reid, Senior Program Coordinator, MARC U*STAR, and Kathryn Bond, Program Coordinator, QBIC 


The MARC U*STAR and QBIC Programs would like to thank all the mentors for their support and guidance of our programs' students. We would like to recognize and thank our judges for their time and service to FIU's scientific community.

Special thanks to the Mini-Symposium Organizing Committee - Dr. Mauricio Rodriguez-Lanetty, Dr. DeEtta Mills, Amy Reid, Kathryn Bond - and the judges, moderators and volunteers for their efforts.

We would like to offer our deepest gratitude to the Quantifying Biology In the Classroom Club, the Undergraduate Research Society and the Council for Student Organizations.