Erin Bonner '17 and Julianna Nechin '18 earned first and second place prizes for their poster presentations at the 19th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium in the Chemical and Biological Sciences, held recently at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
The Symposium seeks to showcase a diverse array of student research as well as disseminate their relevant results and concepts. The event exclusively features undergraduate research in all areas of chemistry, biology and biochemistry. This year, the event featured 286 student contributions and welcomed more than 550 beginning scientists, mentors, and other guests.
Erin, a biology major, received first place for her poster presentation, which detailed research conducted by herself and her lab-mate Emily Spiegel '18 in Associate Professor of Biology Greg Davis' lab.
Their poster focused on strains of the pea aphid, a small insect that feeds on plant sap, from different geographic locations. Aphids are able to alter their development in response to environmental variables such as photoperiod, to prepare for environmental challenges such as the cold temperatures of winter. Bonner and Spiegel specifically studied how natural selection has shaped the aphid response to photoperiod from northern and southern locations in the United States that exhibit stark differences in winter temperatures.
"Our research helps to explain the mechanism and evolution of reproductive polyphenism," says Erin. "It felt wonderful to win the poster competition because my partner and I have been working hard on our research all summer, and we were both very invested in creating our poster. I felt thrilled to be recognized at a large conference, and the experience made me even more motivated and excited to continue researching and sharing my findings with the scientific community."
Julianna, a biochemistry major, received the second place prize for her poster presentation. Her poster is based on research conducted with Professor of Biology Tamara Davis. "Dr. Davis was an amazing mentor for me and a huge help in creating the poster," says Julianna.
Her poster research looked into epigenetics, the study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression. To read a more detailed description of her research, click here.
Julianna engaged in summer research with Davis and decided to continue this research into the academic year. She will research with Davis for the rest of her time at Bryn Mawr.
"Winning an award was very exciting. It made me feel like all the hard work I've put in is meaningful not just to me and Dr. Davis, but also to the rest of the scientific community," says Julianna.