Undergraduate researchers Ryan Parnell and Danille Allaire pose in front of a poster explaining their cancer research project.

Updates from the Office of Research for Undergraduates

A group of students and faculty, along with President and Dr. Crawford pose for a photo in front of a Love.Honor.Care photo backdrop in Millett Hall.
Teams of undergraduate students and their faculty sponsors were honored for their research on cancer during Miami’s Love.Honor.Care Weekend.

Cancer research awards

Thanks to the generosity of donors Cynthia Henderson and Tom and Ann Hayden, four teams of undergraduates will each receive $5,000 for their Cancer Research projects, to be carried out during the 2019-2020 academic year:

  • A Spectral Phaser Approach for Monitoring Cellular Metabolism in Turbid Media
    Conducted by Max Kreider, Mathematics major and Andy Rodriguez, Biological Physics major, under the direction of faculty sponsors, Paul Urayama and Karthik Vishwanath, Department of Physics
  • Looking at Cancer Through the Lens of the Newt
    Conducted by Biology majors Alyssa Miller and Arielle Martinez and Biochemistry major Vayda Barker, under the direction of faculty sponsors Katia Del Rio-Tsonis and Tracy Haynes, Department of Biology
  • Using Viral Genes to Sensitize Cancer Cells to Medical Interventions
    Conducted by Gabriel Ortiz, Microbiology major, under the direction of
    faculty sponsor Eileen Bridge, Department of Microbiology
  • In-silico Exploration of Microsatellite Instability Markers in cancer genomes for Osteosarcoma Patients
    Conducted by Biology majors Linh Le, Ariel Xue, and Anjali Gupta and Computer Science major Gretchen Blackwell, under the direction of faculty sponsor Chun Liang, Department of Biology

During the current academic year (2018-19) a generous donation made by Cynthia Henderson funded two research teams:

  • Decreasing Colon Cancer Cell Growth by Ketone Bodies via Metabolic Reprogramming: Potential Mechanisms for Treating Colon Cancer with Ketogenic Diets
    Conducted by Danielle Allaire, Biology major and Ryan Parnell, Biochemistry major, under the direction of faculty sponsor Claire Shi, Department of Biology
  • Analysis of Tumor Development and Supression Using an Engineered Adenoviral Vector Containing an HMGA Hyper-Binding Site in an Orthotopic Mouse Model
    Conducted by Microbiology major Shannon Ryan, Biology major Ellen Kasik, and Bioengineering Major Zachary Zampa, under the direction of faculty sponsor Michael Kennedy, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

All six teams were honored during half time at the women’s basketball game February 23 as part of the Love.Honor.Care Weekend benefitting Luna Cares.

Undergraduate Research Forum

The Undergraduate Research Forum will be 25 this year! To celebrate this milestone, a 2-day event is being planned, and several new features have been introduced to:

  • Showcase research, scholarly work, and creative endeavors across campus
  • Promote interdisciplinary and synergistic collaborations
  • Recognize the role of research centers and research support entities across campus
  • Raise early awareness of research and scholarly pathways

Tuesday April 23rd

  • Plenary session
  • Centers and research showcase
  • Themed panel discussions

Wednesday April 24

  • Poster sessions, talks, and e-posters

More details are available on the ORU website. Registration deadline for presenters is March 8, 2019.


Written by Joyce Fernandes, Director, Office of Research for Undergraduates, Miami University.

Photos courtesy of Joyce Fernandes.

Undergraduate Research Award (URA) applications due March 4

A young woman wearing a white lab coat and bright blue surgical gloves inserts a pipette into a test tube she is holding in her left hand. Her mentor, a woman who wears a white lab coat and glasses, looks on. The younger woman is seated at a counter cluttered with machinery and supplies. In the background is a bulletin board covered with paper and sticky notes.
Miami’s Office of Research for Undergraduates provides funding for undergraduate research, like that done by Rachel Mann (left) under the mentorship of associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry Carole Dabney Smith (right).

For over three decades, the Miami University Senate has sponsored the URA to provide Miami undergraduates with a faculty-mentored experience in developing grant applications. These partnerships are meant to encourage discovery and stimulate creative activity.  Students may submit individual projects or team projects. Typical awards range from $150 to $500, but individual projects of exceptional merit or projects involving student teams may be funded up to $1,000. Each individual or team project must be endorsed by a sponsor who certifies that the project is worth doing, has educational value to the student(s) and can be accomplished in the proposed time frame. The aim and result of specific projects supported by the program may be modest as long as the work can reasonably be interpreted as research or a creative endeavor.

Applications for summer session or Fall 2019 projects are due March 4, 2019.  Full program guidelines and application instructions are available here.


Photos by Scott Kissell, Miami University Photo Services.

Two student researchers hold a piece of scientific equipment partially submerged in a large pool of water at Miami Univesity's Ecology Research Center. The part of the equipment that is underwater can be seen in the bottom of the frame. At the top of the frame, a net that covers the pool is propped up so that the researchers can access the pool.

Organization focuses on undergraduate research

CUR logo with text announcing Miami University's Enhanced Institutional Membership. Text: CUR. Miami University is an enhanced institutional member of the Council on Undergraduate Research. Learning Through Research.

The Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) focuses on providing and enhancing undergraduate research opportunities for both faculty and students. CUR is one of the few professional organizations that focuses on all areas of academic research, including the arts and humanities, biology, chemistry, geosciences, health sciences, mathematics and computer science, physics and astronomy, psychology and social sciences. This allows for high-quality collaboration between undergraduate students and faculty, regardless of discipline.

CUR exists to support undergraduate research by providing networking opportunities and other resources to faculty. Broadly defined, undergraduate research is an inquiry or investigation conducted by an undergraduate student that makes an original intellectual or creative contribution to the discipline. By including undergraduates in their research projects, faculty members develop professionally while also serving the academic community.

Miami University values and supports CUR’s mission through its enhanced institutional membership, which covers all Miami affiliates’ membership costs.

Membership offers the following benefits to faculty:

Academic service

  • By writing articles for CUR publications and listservs, faculty members can share their ideas via these media and can gather new ideas by reading colleagues’ articles.
  • Faculty members can also contribute to Miami’s strong reputation with undergraduate research. By joining the CUR, faculty members are declaring their involvement with such programs.

Faculty development

  • CUR offers a chance to interact and connect with other professionals interested in advancing undergraduate research.
  • Through CUR publications and outreach activities, faculty share successful models and strategies, adapting ideas to their own research processes.
  • Faculty members can build their professional skills by attending a CUR conference, which gives them the opportunity to actively engage with other faculty and discuss issues relevant to undergraduate research.

Improved opportunities and environment

  • CUR’s mentor network is beneficial to faculty members who are interested in initiating or sustaining undergraduate research programs.
  • Through its consulting services, CUR assists colleges and universities in a range of activities, including assessing undergraduate research programs, designing fundraising programs and organizing faculty retreats with guest speakers.
  • Funding opportunities and fellowships are provided to undergrads through the CUR website.

Miami affiliates can join CUR for free

Simply follow these steps:

  • Visit cur.org.
  • Click the Join CUR link.
  • Click on Individual Membership.
  • Fill in your personal information.
  • Choose Miami University (OH) as your institution.
  • Click OK in the pop-up window confirming Miami’s enhanced institutional membership; this makes your individual membership free.

For more information about CUR, contact Martha Weber, Miami’s CUR liaison (513-529-1775).


Photo by Jeff Sabo, Miami University Photo Services.

3D dollar sign in space orbiting over earth horizon.

Undergraduate Research Award applications due October 15

A student plays the violin while hooked up to biometric monitoring equipment. Two professors look on. Computers with graphs depicting the biometric information can be seen in the foreground.

Applications for Undergraduate Research Awards (URA) to support projects conducted during spring semester are due Monday, October 15.

For over three decades, the Miami University Senate has sponsored the URA to provide Miami undergraduates with a faculty-mentored experience in developing grant applications. These partnerships are meant to encourage discovery and stimulate creative activity.  Typical awards range from $150 to $500, but individual projects of exceptional merit or projects involving student teams may be funded up to $1,000. Each individual or team project must be endorsed by a sponsor who certifies that the project is worth doing, has educational value to the student(s) and can be accomplished in the proposed time frame. The aim and result of specific projects supported by the program may be modest as long as the work can reasonably be interpreted as research or a creative endeavor.

Students may submit individual projects or team projects. Each individual student project or team project must be endorsed by a sponsor who certifies that the project is worth doing, has educational value to the student(s) and can be accomplished in the proposed time frame.

Full program guidelines and application instructions are available here.


Dollar in space image by DonkeyHotey via Flickr, used under Creative Commons license. Psychology Lab music research photo by Scott Kissell, Miami University Photo Services.

 

 

Aaron Davidson-Bey (center) and Tone Pryer (right) discuss their poster, "The Accessibility and Inclusion of Oxford: Is It Built for Everyone?" with Miami University president, Greg Crawford (left)

24th Annual Undergraduate Research Forum featured 330 presentations

Ashley Mickens, a junior majoring in environmental earth science sustainability and minoring in history, discusses her poster, "Changes in Phytoplankton Community Composition Following Simulated Storm Events," with two URF attendees.
Ashley Mickens (right), a junior majoring in environmental earth science sustainability and minoring in history, discusses her poster, “Changes in Phytoplankton Community Composition Following Simulated Storm Events,” with URF attendees.

The 24th annual Miami University Undergraduate Research Forum (URF) was held on April 25 at Shriver Center. The event celebrated the scholarly and creative accomplishments of Miami students, who have worked alongside their dedicated faculty and graduate student mentors.

  • 330 unique presentations were made at the forum, which included 278 poster presentations and 52 oral presentations.
  • A total of 570 undergraduates were involved in the work that was presented.
  • 147 faculty members from across the institution sponsored the presentations
  • 123 graduate students mentors were represented.
Donut chart showing student researchers by division. CAS = 375; CEC = 26; Regionals = 71; EHS = 61; FSB = 32; CCA = 5
Student researchers by division

At a luncheon, President Greg Crawford congratulated the student researchers, and Provost Phyllis Callahan highlighted the significant learning outcomes that are at the core of a research experience.

Notable among the many outstanding student presentations were “poster clusters” from the following programs:

  • The newly redesigned First Year Research Experience (FYRE) program, which is taught as a 2-semester sequence of UNV171 and UNV 172 | Mentors: Kate de Medeiros, Mark Krekeler, and Joyce Fernandes
  • Nursing | Mentor: Eliad Musallam
  • Global Health Studies | Mentors: Cameron Hay-Rollins and Paul Flaspohler
  • Bridges Scholars | Mentor: Monica Adkins

An interesting trend is that students are seeking involvement in projects outside of their major/divisional affiliation, emphasizing the appeal of interdisciplinary perspectives, and the availability of such opportunities through dedicated and creative research mentors.

Donut chart showing posters sponsored by faculty across divisions. CAS = 253; CEC = 8; FSB = 7; EHS = 42; EMSS = 5; CLAAS = 15; TOTAL = 330
Posters sponsored by faculty across divisions

Miami’s Office of Research for Undergraduates (ORU), a sponsor of the URF, encourages student presenters to continue the dissemination of their work by archiving them in University Libraries’ Scholarly Commons or through publication in university journals such as COMPASS, if not in major international journals. Students can also apply for ORU-sponsored Undergraduate Presentation Awards to obtain support to present posters at regional and national conferences.


Written by Joyce Fernandes, Director, Miami University Office of Research for Undergraduates.

Photos by Scott Kissell, Miami University Photo Services.

A student presenter discusses her poster with a forum attendee. The SAHA Global logo is visible on the student's poster.

Undergraduate Research Forum to be held April 25

Student presenter Jeffrey Caldwell II and a faculty member stand in front of his poster at the URF. The Title of the poster, "Make America Great Again: Let's Start in the Ghetto" is readable.
Jeffrey Caldwell II, media and culture major (left), presented his poster, “Make America Great Again: Let’s Start in the Ghetto,” at last year’s URF.

The 24th annual Miami University Undergraduate Research Forum will be held Wednesday, April 25, in Shriver Center and the Armstrong Student Center. All are welcome to visit the forum, which showcases the creative and scholarly activities of undergraduates who engaged in research over the course of the academic year.

Oral presentations will be held throughout the day. Three poster sessions will be held in Shriver Center’s John E. Dolibois Room (formerly the multipurpose room):

  • Session A: 10:00–11:30am
  • Session B: 1:30–2:45pm
  • Session C: 3:00–4:15pm

Programs with times and specific locations of all presentations will be available at the event.

All Miami students are invited to present at the annual forum. This year more than 300 research projects will be presented by more than 500 students. Presentations range from faculty-mentored independent study research to large group community projects and course-related projects.

More than 2,000 Miami undergraduates work with professors on funded research each year.

The forum is sponsored by the Graduate School, OARS, the Office of Research for Undergraduates (ORU) and the offices of the president and the provost.


Written by Susan Meikle, Miami University News & Communications and updated for 2018.  Originally appeared as a top story on Miami University’s News and Events website.

Photos by Scott Kissell, Miami University Photo Services.

Undergraduate Research Award (URA) applications due March 5

A young woman wearing a white lab coat and bright blue surgical gloves inserts a pipette into a test tube she is holding in her left hand. Her mentor, a woman who wears a white lab coat and glasses, looks on. The younger woman is seated at a counter cluttered with machinery and supplies. In the background is a bulletin board covered with paper and sticky notes.
Miami’s Office of Research for Undergraduates provides funding for undergraduate research, like that done by Rachel Mann (left) under the mentorship of associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry Carole Dabney Smith (right).

For over three decades, the Miami University Senate has sponsored the URA to provide Miami undergraduates with a faculty-mentored experience in developing grant applications. These partnerships are meant to encourage discovery and stimulate creative activity.  Students may submit individual projects or team projects. Typical awards range from $150 to $500, but individual projects of exceptional merit or projects involving student teams may be funded up to $1,000. Each individual or team project must be endorsed by a sponsor who certifies that the project is worth doing, has educational value to the student(s) and can be accomplished in the proposed time frame. The aim and result of specific projects supported by the program may be modest as long as the work can reasonably be interpreted as research or a creative endeavor.

Applications for summer session or Fall 2018 projects are due March 5, 2018.  Full program guidelines and application instructions are available here.


Photos by Scott Kissell, Miami University Photo Services.