Georgetown Alumnus Keynotes Annual Undergraduate Research Conference

APRIL 18, 2016 – A double Georgetown graduate and infectious disease expert delivered the keynote address at the 14th annual Undergraduate Research Conference, hosted by the Department of Human Science at the School of Nursing & Health Studies.

Robert R. Redfield Jr. (C’73, M’77), MD, serves as division head of infectious diseases at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and is well known for his decades-long HIV/AIDS work.

“Science is a very powerful tool,” said the virologist, who noted the “power of science” in improving the lives of individuals living with HIV/AIDS since he first cared for patients in the mid-1980s. “Today, you can live a natural lifetime,” he said.

Have ‘Courage’

Redfield recounted his steadfast work to promote routine early diagnosis of HIV/AIDS long before the health community embraced this approach.

To the aspiring scientists gathered April 14 in Copley Formal Lounge, he said: “Have the courage to articulate what you know in your heart is the right thing to do.”

Sharing Research

Redfield’s talk took place as the two-day Undergraduate Research Conference – an annual event that includes a research poster session, oral presentations, and an award ceremony.

The poster count hit 107 with representation from Georgetown University and several other universities.

Three invited oral presentations were delivered by Xinyi (Cindy) Chen (Johns Hopkins University’17), who spoke on “Self-Assembling Peptide Nanofibers for Controlled Drug Abuse,” Seamus Caragher (C’16), who addressed “A Potential Role for CCL5 in Opioid Abuse,” and Alisha Dua (C’16), who talked about “Investigation into the Role of Retinoic Acid in Inflammation and Remyelination in the CNS.”

Conference Awardees

A number of awards were given at the conference. Awards for best oral and poster presentations are named in honor of conference founder Charles H. Evans Jr., MD, PhD, former chair of the Department of Human Science who retired in 2009. And the award for excellence in faculty mentorship is named in recognition of longtime faculty member Allan Angerio, PhD, associate dean for education and undergraduate studies.

“I am humbled to receive an award in honor of a fantastic mentor, Dr. Angerio,” says Jan LaRocque, PhD, assistant professor of human science. “I’m most grateful for the wonderful Georgetown students that I’m able to interact with in the classroom and research lab. Teaching and mentoring these bright and gifted students during such a transformative chapter in their lives is the highlight of my career.”

The 2016 student awardees are:

Best Oral Presentation

Seamus Caragher (C’16)

Best Poster Presentation

Bassel Zein (C’16)

Rising Researcher

Larissa Wietlisbach (NHS’18)

Excellence in Oral Presentation

Cindy Chen (JHU’16)
Alisha Dua (C’16)

Excellence in Poster Presentation

Saumya Bollam (C’16)
Jefferson Haake (NHS’16)
Nancy Mack (JMU’17)
Andreas Seas (UMD’17)
John Treado (C’16)
Breanna Walsh (C’17)

Planning Committee

The 2016 conference was planned by co-chairs Kira Kyin Lin (NHS’17) and Kristen Watkins (NHS’17), as well as committee members Macarena Basanes (NHS’16), Aidan Neustadtl (C’16), Taylor Polk (NHS’16), Johnny Jung (C’18), Emily Lau (NHS’17), Jiwon Noh (C’18), Cassandra Skapek (C’18), Noori Srivastava (NHS’18), and Giselle Wallace (C’17).

Conference advisors are LaRocque, Alex Theos, PhD, assistant professor of human science, Carol Hom, program coordinator in the Department of Human Science, and Jennifer Ericson, MS, assistant dean at the School of Nursing & Health Studies.

“As one of the presenters, I believe all presenters appreciate this unparalleled opportunity to showcase what we have been tirelessly working on . . . ,” says Lin.

Adds Watkins: The conference “is also important for students who are not involved in research, as it gives them the opportunity to reflect on the great work their friends are doing and also can serve to spark interest in becoming involved in research.”

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Department of Human Science

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