Students recognized at national biomedical research conference

Three FIU undergraduate students received awards for their research presented at the 2012 Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) in November in San Jose, California.

ABRCMS, the largest professional conference of its kind in the nation, encourages underrepresented minority students to pursue advanced training in the biomedical and behavioral sciences, including STEM disciplines. It also provides faculty with resources for facilitating student success.

The winners represent FIU’s Minority Biomedical Research Support-Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (MBRS-RISE), Minority Access to Research Careers Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research (MARC U-STAR) and the Quantifying Biology in the Classroom (QBIC) programs.

“To receive an ABRCMS award is validation that the recipient is one of the best of the undergraduates in the country conducting biomedical research,” said Charles H. Bigger, director of the MBRS-RISE Program and professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. “That often encourages the students to raise their personal goals  and the various graduate selection committees and funding agencies take note of the award recipients as they move forward in their careers.”

More than 1,700 of the attending students participated in poster and oral presentations in 12 subdisciplines of the biomedical and behavioral sciences. All presentations were evaluated by active researchers. The students with the highest scores in each scientific discipline and for each educational level received monetary awards. Of the eight FIU participants, three received awards:

Misael (Mitch) Fernandez
(Oral Presentation and Interdisciplinary Award)
Scientific Discipline: Molecular and Computational Biology
Faculty Mentor: Giri Narasimhan, College of Engineering and Computing
Double Major: Chemistry and Biology
Minor: Computer Science


Kailey MacNamara
(Poster Presentation and Interdisciplinary Award)
Former QBIC Scholar
Scientific Discipline: Engineering, Physics and Mathematics
Presented Vanderbilt Summer Research
Faculty Mentor: Richard Bone, Department of Physics
Double Major: Physics and Biology
Minor: Chemistry


Aneysis Gonzalez
(Poster Presentation Award)
MARC U-STAR Fellow and QBIC Scholar
Scientific Discipline: Neuroscience
Presented HHMI Stanford Summer Research
Faculty Mentor: Jeremy Chambers, Department of Cellular Biology and Pharmacology
Major: Biology
Minor: Psychology


“I’m extremely proud of the way that the students at ABRCMS were able to explain and defend their research,” said conference chairman Clifford W. Houston, Associate Vice President for Educational Outreach and holder of the Herman Barnett Distinguished Professorship in Microbiology and Immunology, University of Texas Medical Branch. “By meriting recognition for research excellence, it is especially apparent that these presentation awardees are already on the road to successful careers in science.”

ABRCMS is managed by the American Society for Microbiology and supported by a grant from the Division of Training, Workforce Development, and Diversity of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences at the National Institutes of Health.


By Ayleen Barbel Fattal

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