University of New England to Host 4th Annual Northeast Undergraduate Research and Development Symposium

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Funded in part by the National Science Foundation, the largest undergraduate research conference north of Boston attracts college students throughout the Northeast

At UNE, our students are encouraged to pursue active research as part of their academic education. The NURDS conference models a real scientific conference with talks and poster sessions, moderators and even hands-on workshops.

The University of New England hosts the 4th Annual Northeast Undergraduate Research and Development Symposium (NURDS) March 10-11, 2012 at UNE's Biddeford Campus. The symposium, funded in part by the National Science Foundation (NSF), is the largest undergraduate research conference north of Boston and attracts students from New Haven to Nova Scotia.

More than 180 students from 38 different colleges and universities are registered for the 2012 symposium, including 19 students from University of New England. Through talks and poster presentations, students will share their research in the natural and social sciences, in disciplines such as ecology, evolution, genetics/molecular biology, psychology, oceanography, marine biology, physics, medical biology, and chemistry.

Many students are preparing their research for submission to publications, and the symposium provides a venue to refine their research, presentation and networking skills.

Markus Frederich, Ph.D., UNE associate professor of marine sciences, is the principal investigator of the NSF grant that funds NURDS, as well as faculty advisor for the event. He states, “At UNE, our students are encouraged to pursue active research as part of their academic education. The NURDS conference models a real scientific conference with talks and poster sessions, moderators and even hands-on workshops. The students become real scientists, presenting their work, which often is truly innovative science, in front of their peers. The funding from the National Science Foundation allows us to make this a larger regional event, and some universities are sending their students for the fourth year to present at NURDS.”

UNE undergraduate medical biology student Casey Toombs, class of 2012, has helped organize the symposium for three years, and has presented twice. She says, “By presenting my research in front of other undergraduates at NURDS, I have gained very useful feedback to help me prepare for my Honors thesis. I am also better prepared to speak about my research in front of important doctors and professors for medical school interviews to achieve my goal of becoming a physician.”

The 2012 NURDS keynote address will be delivered by Dr. Michael Grace, Ph.D., associate professor at the Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, FL, who will speak on his research with undergraduates. His presentation is titled, “Some Like it Hot! The Infrared Vision in Pit Vipers and Pythons.”

Keynote speakers at previous NURDS conferences include Peggy Maher, aerospace education specialist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, and Dr. Jeffrey Osborn, former president of the National Council of Undergraduate Research.

Named one of the best regional universities in America by U.S. News & World Report, UNE is a leader in health sciences education, biomedical research and the liberal arts. It offers student-centered, interdisciplinary programs in the College of Osteopathic Medicine, Westbrook College of Health Professions, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Pharmacy, and the College of Graduate Studies. For more information, visit http://www.une.edu.

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