WMRUGS Research Conference

West Michigan Regional Undergraduate Science Research Conference

2020 WMRUGS Date: Friday, November 6, 2020 and Saturday, November 7, 2020


The annual West Michigan Regional Undergraduate Science Research Conference (WMRUGS) brings together students and faculty for two days of learning and networking. Via virtual platform, students will share the story of their research project with other college students, faculty, research scientists and other college students, as well as build their network of peers with similar interests and experiences. Attendees will also hear stimulating talks on current topics in biology, biochemistry, bioinformatics, chemistry, computer science, engineering, geology, neuroscience, physics, and more. Graduate school, professional school and medical school recruiters will be on hand to discuss educational opportunities with their institutions. Internship and employment recruiters also will be available to discuss opportunities with their organizations.

Registration for the 2020 WMRUGS research conference has ended. Questions? Contact the Event Coordinator, Michelle Love at undergrad@vai.edu.

Schedule of EventsWMRUGS Program

Keynote Speaker

A new headshot for Rena Robinson, who is a Spring 2020 Chancellor's Public Voices Fellow. Following this photo shoot, Strategic Communications will be meeting with Rena for a media training session as part of the Public Voices program.(Vanderbilt University/Joe Howell)

Renã A.S. Robinson, Ph.D. – Vanderbilt University
Associate Professor of Chemistry
Dorothy J. Wingfield Phillips Chancellor’s Faculty Fellow
Department of Neurology
Vanderbilt Memory and Alzheimer’s Center
Training Faculty, Vanderbilt Brain Institute
Vanderbilt Institute of Chemical Biology
NOBCChE President-Elect
Faculty Profile: https://www.vanderbilt.edu/chemistry/faculty/robinson.php

Presentation Title: “Comprehensive Proteomics and Lipidomics Strategies to Advance Disparities Research in Alzheimer’s Disease”

Undergraduate Student Talks

Aquinas College: Josh Wierenga
Presentation Title: “An Elliptic Model of a Viral Capsid”
Research Mentor: Michael McDaniel, Ph.D.

Calvin University: Lauren Henderson
Presentation Title: “The Evolution of Contact Binary Stars: Using Computational Models to Test our Evolutionary Theory”
Research Mentor: Larry Molnar, Ph.D.

Ferris State University – College of Pharmacy: Josh Matson
Presentation Title: “Investigation of Simultaneous EGFR and Aurora Kinase Inhibition in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Cells”
Research Mentor: Felix Amissah, Ph.D., M.Phil, B.Pharm

Grand Valley State University: Nicholas Layman
Presentation Title: “Continuous Guessing Games with Two Secret Numbers”
Research Mentor: David Clark, Ph.D.

Hope College Student: Kimberly Paquette
Presentation Title: “Links Between Religiousness and Mental and Physical Health in People with Post-Polio Syndrome”
Research Mentor: Alyssa Cheadle, Ph.D.

Kalamazoo College Student: Adam Decker
Presentation Title: “Symmetry, Structure and Function of Icosahedral Viruses”
Research Mentor: David Wilson, Ph.D.

Graduate Student Talk

Jordan Prahl, Van Andel Institute Graduate School Ph.D. Candidate – Cell and Molecular Genetics
Alumnus: Grand Valley State University – Bachelor of Science, Biology and Biomedical sciences
Research Mentor: Gerry Coetzee, Ph.D.
Student Profile: https://vaigs.vai.org/students-alumni/students/jordan-prahl/

Presentation Title: “Global effects of Parkinson’s Disease risk-SNP rs356182 at the SNCA locus”

Schedule of Events

Please note, all times are listed in the U.S. Eastern time zone

Friday, November 6, 2020

Virtual Conference

  • Welcome | Title Sponsor Presentation | 4:00 pm – 4:15 pm EST
  • Keynote Speaker and Q& A Session | 4:15 pm – 5:00 pm EST
  • Break | 5:00 pm – 5:15 pm EST
  • Graduate Student Talk and Q&A Session | 5:15 pm – 5:45 pm EST
  • Break | 5:45 pm – 6:00 pm EST
  • Poster Session and Q&A Session | Even-Numbered Posters | 6:00 pm – 7:15 pm EST

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Fair: Graduate School, Medical Schools, Professional Schools and Employers

  • Recruiters available between 8:00 am – 3:00 pm EST

Virtual Conference

  • Welcome, Poster Session Sponsor Presentation and Supporting Sponsor Presentation   |   11:00 am – 11:15 am EST
  • Undergraduate Student Talks   | Aquinas College, Calvin University and Ferris State University   |   11:15 am – Noon EST
  • Break   | Noon – 12:15 pm EST
  • Poster Session 2 and Q&A Session   | Odd-Numbered Posters   |   12:15 pm – 1:30 pm EST
  • Undergraduate Student Talks   | Grand Valley State University, Hope College and Kalamazoo College   |   1:30 pm – 2:15 pm EST
  • Conclusion   | Closing Remarks   |   2:15 pm – 2:30 pm EST

Poster Session

Poster sessions will take place on both Friday, November 6, 2020, and Saturday, November 7, 2020. This year’s poster sessions and live discussions boards will be hosted virtually via Slack.

Friday, November 6, 2020

Poster Session 1 and Q&A Session | Even-Numbered Posters | 6:00 pm – 7:15 pm EST

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Poster Session 2 and Q&A Session | Odd-Numbered Posters |12:15 pm – 1:30 pm EST

Assigning Poster Numbers and Uploading Posters:

Due to virtual space limitations, the maximum number of posters is 150. Details for uploading posters via Slack and poster number assignments will be provided at a later date to the Principal Presenting Author-Student that submitted abstract information for the program.

Reviewing Posters and Live Poster Session Discussion Boards via Slack:

The Slack link for reviewing posters and the live poster session discussion boards will be provided to all registrants at a later date.

Information for Recruiters

Reminder Deadlines for Recruiters:

Logos for the WMRUGS Program: The deadline to submit high-resolution institutional/organizational logos is Monday, October 26, 2020. Please have your Marketing/Branding Department email your logo to Michelle Love at undergrad@vai.edu.  Please include “2020 WMRUGS Logo” in the subject line.

Virtual Booths / Virtual Sessions: To prevent virtual bombing, please provide virtual booth / virtual session links and passcodes if applicable (Zoom, GoToMeeting, Webex, Google Meet, Blue Jeans, etc.) to Michelle Love at undergrad@vai.edu before Monday, November 2, 2020. Links to virtual booths / virtual sessions will be emailed to all WMRUGS registrants shortly before the virtual fair begins the morning of Saturday, November 7, 2020.

Recruiter Contact Information

Zoom meeting details including meeting links, meeting ID number and passcodes will be emailed to registrants the day before the graduate/career fair portion of the conference.


Ferris State University – College of Pharmacy
Website: ferris.edu/pharmacy

Dr. Stephen Durst
Dean – College of Pharmacy, Dean’s Office
Telephone / Office: 231-591-2254
Email: dursts@ferris.edu

Dr. Thomas Dowling
Assistant Dean and Director of Research and Sponsored Programs
Telephone / Office: 616-643-1137
Email: thomasdowling@ferris.edu

Tara M. Lee
Director of Admissions
220 Ferris Drive
Big Rapids, MI 49307
Telephone/ Office: 231-591-2249
Email: taralee@ferris.edu
Recruiter Availability: 8:00 am – 3:00 pm EST
Virtual Platform: Zoom

Grand Valley State University
Website: gvsu.edu

Rachel Van Den Broek, MA, MBL
Recruiter, Graduate Programs
Grand Valley State University
314C Richard M. DeVos Center
401 Fulton Street W
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Telephone / Office: 616-331-7067   |   Cell: 712 395-3209
Email: vandenr1@gvsu.edu
Recruiter Availability: 8:00 – 3:00 pm EST
Virtual Platform: Zoom

Anirudh Chowdhary, PhD
Professional Science Master’s Coordinator Programs Coordinator
Grand Valley State University
Kennedy Hall of Engineering
301 W. Fulton Street
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Telephone / Office: (616) 331-6297
Email: chowdhan@gvsu.edu
Recruiter Availability: 8:00 – 3:00 pm EST
Virtual Platform: Zoom

Indiana University School of Medicine
Website: go.iu.edu/IBMG

Brandy S. Wood
Assistant Director, IBMG Program for PhD Study
Indiana University School of Medicine – Graduate Division
635 North Barnhill Drive / Room 207
Indianapolis, IN 46202
Email: biomed@iupui.edu
Telephone / Office: 317-274-8719
Recruiter Availability: 8:00 – 3:00 pm EST
Virtual Platform: Zoom

Manchester University – College of Pharmacy, Natural & Health Sciences
Website: manchester.edu

Greg Hetrick
Assistant Dean of Enrollment Management and Community Engagement
Email: pharmacy@manchester.edu
Telephone / Office: 260-470-2703

Julie Cogley-Pifko
Assistant Director of Admissions and Enrollment Management
Email: jacogley@manchester.edu
Telephone / Office: 260-470-2678

McKenzie Gould
Graduate Admissions Advisor
Email: MEGould@manchester.edu
Telephone / Office: 260-470-2709

Manchester University
10627 Diebold Road
Fort Wayne, IN 46845
Recruiter Availability: 8:00 am – 3:00 pm EST
Virtual Platform: Zoom

Purdue University – Interdisciplinary Life Science Program (PULSe)
Website: purdue.edu/gradschool/pulse/index.html

Lindsey Springer
Senior Graduate Program Specialist, PULSe
Purdue University
155 S. Grant Street, B40
West Lafayette, IN 47907
Email: pulse@purdue.edu
Telephone / Office: 765-496-9667
Recruiter Availability: 8:00 a.m. – Noon EST
Virtual Platform: Zoom

University of Michigan – Department of Molecular & Integrative Physiology
Website: medicine.umich.edu/dept/molecular-integrative-physiology

Daniel E. Michele
Professor and Graduate Program Director
University of Michigan
2800 Plymouth Road, NCRC B26-207S
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Email: dmichele@umich.edu
Telephone / Office: 734-764-5738
Recruiter Availability: 8:00 – 3:00 pm EST
Virtual Platform: Zoom

Van Andel Institute Graduate School
Website: vaigs.vai.org

Christy Mayo
Director of Enrollment and Records
Van Andel Institute Graduate School
333 Bostwick Avenue NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Telephone / Office: 616-234-5708
Email: registrar@vai.edu
Recruiter Availability: 10:00 – 2:00 pm EST
Virtual Platform: Zoom

Western Michigan University – Graduate Collee
Website: wmich.edu/grad

Tony Dennis
Director of Graduate Student Recruitment
Western Michigan University
1903 W. Michigan Avenue
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
Email: tony.dennis@wmich.edu
Telephone / Office: 269-387-8212
Recruiter Availability: 8:00 – 3:00 pm EST
Virtual Platform: Zoom


Gentex Corporation
Website: www.gentex.com

Daniel Quintanilla
Talent Acquisition Manager
Telephone / Office: 616-772-1800 Ext. 5127
Email: dquintanilla@gentex.com

Kurtis Geerlings
Research Manager
Telephone / Office: 616-772-1800
Email: hr@gentex.com

Gentex Corporation – Corporate Headquarters
600 North Centennial Street
Zeeland, MI 49464
Recruiter Availability: 11:00 am – 2:00 pm EST
Virtual Platform: MS Teams

Van Andel Institute
Website: vaigs.vai.org/undergrad-research

Michelle Love
Administrative Assistant, Undergraduate & Internship Programs
Van Andel Institute Graduate School
333 Bostwick Avenue NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Telephone / Office: (616) 234-5708
Email: undergrad@vai.edu
Recruiter Availability: Michelle Love from 8:00 am – 10:00 am EST  |  Ariana Kupai from 10:00 am  – noon pm EST  |  Jennifer Wloszek and Kaitlyn Westra from noon – 3:00 pm EST
Virtual Platform: Zoom

Sponsorship Information

The West Michigan Regional Undergraduate Science Research Conference is celebrating its 14th annual day of learning and networking in a virtual format. The conference attracts 400 or more attendees for this one-day research event. Sponsorship opportunities are available at various levels. Please contact Michelle Love for further information at Michelle.Love@vai.edu.

Click here to download sponsorship sheet and benefits.


2020 Title Sponsor

2020 Poster Session Sponsors

2020 Supporting Sponsor

Organizing Committee

Jennifer Hess, Ph.D. (Aquinas College), Keith Grasman, Ph.D. (Calvin University), Eric Nybo, Ph.D. (Ferris State University-College of Pharmacy), Mark Staves, Ph.D. (Grand Valley State University), Dwight Williams, Ph.D. (Kalamazoo College), Kristin Dittenhafer-Reed, Ph.D. (Hope College), Mary Winn, Ph.D. (Van Andel Institute Graduate School).

WMRUGS Archives