The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) began explicitly including undergraduate research in their national meetings, with an undergraduate poster competition over fourteen years ago. Four years ago, with previous funding from NSF, this program was expanded to include an undergraduate and Primary Undergraduate Institution (PUI) faculty oral session. In the past three years, instead of an exclusive undergraduate research session, undergraduate students and faculty from PUIs have been integrated into the main scientific sessions, which have resulted in broader exposure of their work to a much larger audience. The goal of this proposal is for the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology to increase the visibility of high quality, outcome-oriented undergraduate research in the fields of biochemistry and molecular biology. To do this, the Education and Professional Development Committee (EPD) of ASBMB, in collaboration with the Undergraduate Affiliates Network Committee (UAN) will organize the following at their national meeting in each of the next two years: * Select six faculty members+ per year, from primarily undergraduate institutions (PUIs), to present their research in platform sessions at the annual national ASBMB meeting. * Select three undergraduates per year to present their research in platform sessions at the national ASBMB meeting and facilitation of maximal scientific understanding by undergraduates of sessions they attend. The location of the two events will be San Diego, CA for April 21-25, 2012 and Boston, MA in April 20-24, 2013.

Broader Impacts: The award will contribute to the professional development of the PUI faculty involved by providing them the opportunity to keep current with cutting edge science and allowing them to present their research and obtain feedback. The meeting will also enhance the science education of the undergraduates involved by increasing their knowledge and enhancing their oral communication skills. In addition, ASBMB will work to have a balance of underrepresented students and faculty represented at the two meetings. The ASBMB's track record in this area is strong with 54-71% of those invited, within the years 2007-2010, being women or underrepresented minorities.

Project Report

Engaging undergraduate students in research contributes to their overall science education and their retention in STEM career paths. The Experimental Biology (EB) meeting is a very large international meeting for scientists in a number of different biological science disciplines. Most of the presenters conduct their work at research-intensive universities. Before this award, undergraduate students and faculty at primarily undergraduate institutions (PUI) were typically not included in the main meeting sessions or in associated workshops and activities. The goal of this award was to enable undergraduates and PUI faculty to present their high impact research at EB and to provide them with career and professional development opportunities. Faculty at PUIs and undergraduate students typically do not have many opportunities to engage with the larger community of biomedical scientists, which is critical for career development and conducting high impact research. This award supported a diverse group of eight PUI faculty and 12 undergraduate students to attend the 2012 and 2013 EB meetings. Faculty conducting NSF-funded research were primarily recruited. The undergraduates came from both private and public universities and included one student from the University of Puerto Rico Rio Peidras. Without this award, these students and faculty likely would not have been selected to present, because they are not at research intensive universities. In addition to funding specific students and faculty, the grant was used to host several professional development sessions. Students were able to meet with international leaders in their fields to discuss their research, which is not normally a possibility for undergraduates at a large research meeting. Students were also able to learn more about various STEM career paths through a workshop with scientists in a variety of careers. Students from minority serving institutions were specifically targeted for these events. Overall, the award helped engage a group of scientists who are typically under-represented at large research meetings. Sharing your research with the broader biomedical research community is a critical component of a successful research program for faculty and also helps retain undergraduate students in long-term STEM careers.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (MCB)
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Michele McGuirl
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American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
United States
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