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WMRUGS Research Conference

West Michigan Regional Undergraduate Science Research Conference

Van Andel Institute
333 Bostwick Ave. NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Information on the 2020 WMRUGS research conference coming soon.

The annual West Michigan Regional Undergraduate Science (WMRUGS) Research Conference provides an outstanding opportunity for undergraduate students to present their own research to a large and supportive group of professional scientists. The program includes a keynote speaker, research posters presented by undergraduates as well as research talks by undergraduate and graduate students from regional colleges and universities. Graduate school recruiters/representatives will be on hand to discuss opportunities at their institutions, and internship and employment recruiters/representatives will be available to discuss opportunities with their organizations.

Click here to download the 2019 informational speaker and schedule of events flyer.

Click here to download the 2019 WMRUGS program.

Registration Deadlines

Information on the 2020 WMRUGS research conference coming soon.

Keynote Speaker

Paloma Vargas, PhD
Assistant Professor of Biology and Director, Hispanic-Serving Institute Initiatives
California Lutheran University

“Learning Through Research: Life Lessons from a Latinx Biologist”

For more information on Dr. Vargas, visit: https://www.callutheran.edu/faculty/profile.html?id=palomav

Undergraduate Student Talks

Svetlana Djirackor, Aquinas College
Major(s): Biology
Class of 2020
Research Mentor(s): L. Robert Peters, Jr., PhD – Assistant Professor of Biology
Co-Authors: Lucas Topie and L. Robert Peters, Jr., PhD
Scientific Talk Emphasis: Immunology
2019 WMRUGS Undergraduate Student Talk:Subcloning of zebrafish NOD1 alleles into UAS:P2A-nls-EGFP for investigation of NOD1’s role in hematopoietic stem cell development

Liam Ferraby, Calvin University
Major(s): Environmental Studies
Research Mentor(s):  Jason VanHorn, PhD –  Assistant Professor and Department Co-Chair, Geology, Geography and Environmental Studies, Calvin University
Co-Authors: Dr. Jason VanHorn, Dr. Kevin den Dulk, and Annalane Miller
Scientific Talk Emphasis: Immunology
2019 WMRUGS Undergraduate Student Talk: “The Science of Providing Services Spatially for Returning Citizens”

Katelyn Brown, Ferris State University-College of Pharmacy
Major(s): Biotechnology
Class of 2022
Research Mentor(s): S. Eric Nybo PhD – Associate Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Science, Ferris State University College of Pharmacy
Co-Authors: Marlon Coe II and S. Eric Nybo PhD
Scientific Talk Emphasis: Biosynthesis
2019 WMRUGS Undergraduate Student Talk: “Metabolic Engineering for Production of Novel Tetracenomycins”

Erin Reasoner, Grand Valley State University
Major(s): Cell & Molecular Biology and Behavioral Neuroscience
Class of 2020
Research Mentor(s): Shkelzen Shabani, PhD – Assistant Professor of Biomedical Sciences, Grand Valley State University
Co-Authors: Kalyn Peterson, Leo Gallagher, and Shkelzen Shabani, PhD
Scientific Talk Emphasis: Neuroscience
2019 WMRUGS Undergraduate Student Talk: Dopamine D2 receptor activation regulates aversive effects of methamphetamine”

Alicia Bostwick, Hope College
Major(s): Biology
Class of 2020
Research Mentor(s): Kristin Dittenhafer-Reed, PhD – Kristin Dittenhafer-Reed, PhD – Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Hope College
Co-Authors: Mackenna Senti, Gonzalo Moya, Julia Wilson, and Alexandra Wyeth
Scientific Talk Emphasis: Biochemistry
2019 WMRUGS Undergraduate Student Talk: “Investigating Mechanisms of Regulation of Mitochondrial DNA Transcription”

Mya Gough, Kalamazoo College
Major(s): Chemistry
Class of 2020
Research Mentor(s): Dwight Williams, PhD – Roger F. and Harriet G. Varney Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Kalamazoo College
Co-Authors: Dwight Williams, PhD – Roger F. and Harriet G. Varney Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Kalamazoo College
Scientific Talk Emphasis: Organic Synthesis
2019 WMRUGS Undergraduate Student Talk: “Design and Synthesis of Maleimide-Tryptamine Hybrids as Potential Antibacterial Agents”

Graduate Student Talk

Zach DeBruine, PhD Candidate – Val Andel Institute Graduate School: Molecular and Cellular Biology
2019 WMRUGS Graduate School Student Talk:“Frizzled GPCRs initiate and amplify signaling through independent mechanisms”
Scientific Talk Emphasis: Biochemistry
Research Mentor: Karsten Melcher, PhD – Lead Investigator, Van Andel Institute: Structural Biology and Biochemistry
Melcher Lab: https://melcherlab.vai.org/
Student Profile: https://vaigs.vai.org/students-alumni/students/zach-debruine/
Alumnus: Hope College – Bachelor of Science, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 2015

Schedule of Events

8:00  a.m. | ARRIVAL AND POSTER SET-UP, Vande Woude Sessions Conference Room and Cook-Hauenstein Hall

8:15  a.m. | RECRUITER ARRIVAL AND SET-UP, DeVos Lobby

9:00  a.m. | WELCOME/OPENING REMARKS, Tomatis Auditorium 

9:15  a.m. | KEYNOTE ADDRESS, Tomatis Auditorium 

10:00 a.m. | POSTER SESSION I, Vande Woude Sessions Conference Room and Cook-Hauenstein Hall
Presenters at even-numbered posters 
Refreshments served

11:25 a.m. | GRADUATE STUDENT TALKS (1), Tomatis Auditorium
12 minute talk, 3 minutes for Q&A

11:40 a.m. | UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT TALKS (2), Tomatis Auditorium
12 minute talks, 3 minutes for Q&A (for each student)

12:10 p.m. | LUNCH, Cook-Hauenstein Hall

1:10 p.m. | POSTER SESSION II, Vande Woude Sessions Conference Room and Cook-Hauenstein Hall
Presenters at odd-numbered posters 
Refreshments served

2:35 p.m. | UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT TALKS (4), Tomatis Auditorium
12 minute talks, 3 minutes for Q&A (for each student)

3:35 p.m. | CONCLUSION

Poster Information

Presenters will stand by their posters in either the morning or afternoon sessions based on the assigned poster number. Even-numbered posters will be presented in the morning (poster session I) and odd-numbered posters will be presented in the afternoon (poster session II).

  • Poster board dimensions are 60” W x 40” H;
  • Due to space limitations, the maximum number of posters is 170;
  • VARI will only provide push pins to hang posters. Please, DO NOT use poster putty or double-sided tape on poster boards.

Note to Student Presenters: All attendees must register. If you have family and/or friends that would like to attend the conference, please have them register online before October 14, 2019.

Internship and Employment Recruiters

Gentex Corporation
Website: http://www.gentex.com/

Michael Schipper, Talent Acquisition Specialist
Telephone: 616.772.1800
Email: hr@gentex.com

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

Van Andel Institute
Summer Internship Program
Website: https://vaigs.vai.org/undergrad-research/apply/

Undergraduate & Internship Program Committee and Michelle Love, Administrative Assistant
Telephone: 616-234-5708
Email: undergrad@vai.edu

Graduate School, Medical School and Professional Master’s Program Recruiters

Case Western Reserve University
Department of Chemistry
Website: https://chemistry.case.edu/

Genevieve Sauve, Associate Professor
Telephone: 216-368-3622
Email: sxm763@case.edu

Ferris State University
College of Pharmacy

Website: http://www.ferris.edu/colleges/pharmacy

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

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

Grand Valley State University
The Graduate School
Website: https://www.gvsu.edu/gs/

Cori Jaskiewicz, Graduate Assistant
Telephone: 616-331-7105
Email: jaskicor@gvsu.edu

Jennifer Palm, Assistant to The Graduate School
Telephone: 616-331-6858
Email: palmj@gvsu.edu

Grand Valley State University
Professional Science Master’s Program
Website: https://www.gvsu.edu/psm/

Anirudh Chowdhury, Director of Professional Science Master’s Programs
Telephone: 616-331-6297
Email: chowdhan@gvsu.edu

Indiana University
Medical School / IUSM Graduate Division
Website: https://medicine.iu.edu/education/graduate-degrees/phd/indianapolis/

Brandy Wood, Assistant Director, IBMG Program for PhD Study
Telephone: 317-274-8719
Email: biomed@iupui.edu

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

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

Michigan State University
College of Osteopathic Medicine
Website: http://com.msu.edu/admissions

Lorie Culham, Admissions Manager
Telephone: 517-353-7740
Email: com.admissions@hc.msu.edu

Ohio State University, The
Biochemistry Program
Website: http://osbp.osu.edu

Frances Brink, OSBP Program Manager
Telephone: 614-292-1463
Email: osbp@osu.edu

Purdue University
Office of Interdisciplinary Graduate Programs
Interdisciplinary Life Science – PULSe
Website: http://www.purdue.edu/gradschool/PULSe

Lindsey Springer, Graduate Program Specialist, PULSe
Telephone: 765-496-9667
Email: lbcampbe@purdue.edu

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
Website: http://www.stjude.org/graduate-school

Dr. Brian Walton, Senior Vice President and Associate Dean
Telephone: 901-595-1502
Email: brian.wallton@stjude.org

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

Daniel Michele, Professor and Graduate Program Director
Telephone: 734-764-5738
Email: dmichele@umich.edu

University of Michigan
Medical School
Website: https://medicine.umich.edu/medschool/education

Jim Musgrave, Director of Graduate Enrollment Management
Telephone: 734-615-1581
Email: jdmusg@med.umich.edu

University of Michigan
School of Public Health
Website: https://sph.umich.edu/

Kristen McCarthy, Admissions Coordinator
Telephone: 734-763-9830
Email: kmcca@umich.edu

Mary Beth Carroll, Assistant Director of Student Affairs
Telephone: 734-763-9830
Email: maryeli@umich.edu

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

Christy Mayo, Enrollment/Records Administration III
Telephone: 616-234-5708
Email: registrar@vai.edu

Western Michigan University
The Graduate College
Website: http://wmich.edu/grad

Tony Dennis, Director Graduate Student Recruitment
Telephone: 269-387-8212
Email Address: tony.dennis@wmich.edu

Western Michigan University
Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine
Website: https://med.wmich.edu

Steve McDonald, Assistant Director of Admissions
Telephone: 269-337-6100
Email: admissions@med.wmich.edu

Dale Vandré, Associate Dean – Research
Telephone: 269-337-4400
Email: admissions@med.wmich.edu

Hotel Information

Hampton Inn by Hilton – Medical Mile/Michigan Street
433 Dudley Place, NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Driving Distance: 0.8 miles/5-7 minutes
Phone: 616-456-2000

Holiday Inn – Downtown
310 Pearl Street, NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Driving Distance: 0.8 miles/5-7 minutes
Phone: 616-235-7611

CityFlats Hotel
83 Monroe Center, NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Driving Distance: 0.5 miles/5-7 minutes
Phone: 616-451-1892

Riverfront Hotel – Grand Rapids (formerly Radisson Hotel)
270 Ann Street, NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Driving Distance: 2.3 miles/6-8 minutes
Phone: 616-363-9001

Courtyard Marriott
11 Monroe Avenue, NW
Grand Rapids, MI
Driving Distance: 0.8 miles/5-7 minutes
Phone: 616-242-6000

JW Marriott
235 Louis Campau Street, NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Driving Distance: 0.7 miles/5-7 minutes
Phone: 616-242-1500

Amway Grand Plaza – Downtown
187 Monroe Avenue, NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Driving Distance: 0.5 miles/5-7 minutes
Phone: 616-774-2000

Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham
2701 East Beltline, SE, (near 28th St)
Grand Rapids, MI 49546
Driving Distance: 9.9. miles/16-18 minutes
Phone: 616-957-8111

Homewood Suites – Downtown Grand Rapids
161 Ottawa Avenue, NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Driving Distance: 0.3 miles/5-7 minutes
Phone: 616-451-2300

Additional hotel options near Gerald R. Ford International Airport are below:
(Approximately 13 miles from Airport to Van Andel Institute in downtown Grand Rapids)

AC Hotel Grand Rapids Downtown (1 mile from VAI)
50 Monroe Avenue, NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503 USA
Phone: 1.616.776.3200

Clarion Inn and Suites (2.4 miles from Gerald R. Ford Airport/9.9 miles from VAI)
4981 28th Street Southeast
Grand Rapids, MI 49512
Phone: 1.616.956.9304

Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts (2.1 miles from Gerald R. Ford Airport/10.5 miles from VAI)
5700 East 28th Street Southeast
Grand Rapids, MI 49546
Phone: 1.877.270.1393

Embassy Suites by Hilton Grand Rapids Downtown (0.8 miles from VAI)
710 Monroe Avenue, NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Phone: 1.616.512.5700

Hyatt Place (0.7 miles from VAI)
140 Ottawa Avenue, NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49509
Phone: 1.616.984.1200

Sleep Inn & Suites Grand Rapids (2 miles from Gerald R. Ford Airport/10.9 miles from VAI)
4284 29th Street Southeast
Grand Rapids, MI     49512
Phone: 1.616.975.9000

Springhill Suites Grand Rapids Airport SE (1.77 miles from Gerald R. Ford Airport/9.6 miles from VAI)
5250 28th Street Southeast
Grand Rapids, MI 49512
Phone: 1.888.287.9400

Parking and Walking Directions / Ticket Validation

The 2019 WMRUGS Research Conference will be held at Van Andel Institute located at 333 Bostwick Ave. NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503. Please see the address below for Ramp 1 for Ellis Parking near VARI:

25 Michigan Street, NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Parking is FREE. When entering the parking ramp, please take a pink parking ticket at the gate. You will receive a white validated ticket at the conference which validates your parking when exiting the parking ramp. When exiting the parking ramp, please submit the pink parking ticket first and then the white validated parking ticket. If you need special accommodations while attending this event, please contact Michelle Love at undergrad@vai.org and identify where we can help. Download parking instructions by clicking here.

Sponsorship Information

The West Michigan Regional Undergraduate Science Research Conference is celebrating its 13th annual day of learning and networking. The conference attracts 400 or more attendees for this one-day research event. Sponsorship opportunities are available at various levels.

Sponsorship Information

Please contact Michelle Love for further information at Michelle.Love@vai.org or 616.234.5581.


WMRUGS Host

2019 Title Sponsor

Memorial Sponsor

2019 Poster Session Sponsors

GVSU

2019 Supporting Sponsor

Organizing Committee

Elizabeth Jensen, Ph.D. (Aquinas College), Keith Grasman, Ph.D. (Calvin College), 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