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Biology Graduate Students Present Research in New Orleans

Biology Graduate Students Present Research in New Orleans

Posted: March 28, 2017

Three graduate students in the master’s program in biology traveled to New Orleans, LA, to attend the 61st annual meeting of the Biophysical Society in February. Besides hearing a lecture by Eric Betzig, who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2014, the students each presented a poster describing their own research.

Rasheed Bailey presented “Expression and characterization of wildtype and mutant forms of human connexin31 using xenopus oocytes,” conducted with graduate students Husain Bneed and Shahd Kadhim, and undergraduate students Dawn Fernandez and Shelby Rarick. Wen Yan, a visiting scholar and doctoral candidate from China, was also on the research team. Martha Skerrett, associate professor and chair of biology, was their mentor.

“When I attended the meeting, I realized how big and broad the biophysics community is,” said Bailey. “The meeting helped me learn to network.”  

Effects of cytoplasmic tail truncations on connexin 50 hemichannel function” was presented by Justine Jacobi and Derek L. Beahm, assistant professor of biology. Jacobi, who expects to complete her master’s in May 2017, plans to pursue her Ph.D.

“My dream is to go on and study at Roswell Park Cancer Institute and pursue a Ph.D. in immunology, specifically studying cancers of the blood,” said Jacobi. “I participated in the summer undergraduate fellowship program at Roswell Park and fell in love and want to return!”

Jamal Williams and Skerrett presented “Chimeric innexins reveal complexities of electrical rectification. Jamal was recently accepted into the Ph.D. program in biomedical sciences the University of Buffalo and reported that “presenting at such a high-caliber conference was a memorable event. The experience encouraged me to pursue further graduate education in the field of biomedical sciences.”

Both Skerrett and Beahm are cell biologists who study proteins involved in cell communication. “The students did a wonderful job of presenting their work and representing Buffalo State at the biophysics meeting,” said Skerrett. “All three students are planning to continue their education in the field of biomedical sciences. The conference provided an opportunity to make connections with a large scientific community.”

Pictured: Bailey, Jacobi, and Williams at the 2017 Biophysical Society Meeting. Photo: Skerrett.  

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