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SBU biochemistry major wins undergraduate poster award at regional plant biology research conference

Jun 16, 2022

After two years of no in-person conferences, a research team from St. Bonaventure University was excited to attend a Maryland symposium and talk to researchers and graduate students in person about their work.

Arden BuiThe group, working under the guidance of Dr. Xiao-Ning Zhang, included Arden Bui and Leigha Haberly, two rising seniors majoring in biochemistry, and Christopher Chin, ’21, a biology major and full-time research assistant in Zhang’s lab this past year. Zhang is director of the university’s biochemistry program.

They attended a May 25-26 joint research symposium hosted by the Mid-Atlantic Section of the American Society of Plant Biologists and the University of Maryland, College Park.

Bui won an undergraduate poster presentation award for her project on the effects of SR45, a splicing regulator, on sperm RNAs.

“Attending this year’s MAS-ASPB and UMD Plant Symposium was a great experience. I was able to learn about a variety of topics, share my research, and discuss on-going projects,” said Bui. “Meeting people from different labs who are also passionate about their research inspired me to continue working hard on my own projects and not shy away from sharing what I do.”

“All students said that it was an eye-opening experience and exposed them to many interesting research projects out there,” said Zhang.

The symposium covered a wide range of topics in plant biology, including growth and development, biotic and abiotic interactions, molecular and cell biology, genetics and genomics, evolution and ecology, and biotechnology.

Robert Worden talks with Arden Bui and Chris ChinAttending the research symposium was coupled with a National Science Foundation-funded research project on alternative splicing in plant immunity. Zhang and the students performed experiments in the lab of project collaborator Dr. Hua Lu at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Undergraduate students, under the direction of Zhang and Lu, are investigating the mechanisms of disease resistance in plants as part of the $650,000 four-year grant.

While they were in Maryland, the students and Zhang visited the home of alumnus Dr. Robert L. Worden, ’67, and his wife, and Norma (Chue) Worden, ’64. The Worden family established the John L. and Léone E. Worden Memorial Award, an endowed award to support student research in the fields of biology and biochemistry. John Worden taught at St. Bonaventure for 40 years, serving as professor of biology for most of that time. Bui is the 2022-23 recipient of the Worden award and will be able to use the funding to continue the ongoing research during her senior year.

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About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University is a community committed to transforming the lives of our students inside and outside the classroom, inspiring in them a lifelong commitment to service and citizenship. St. Bonaventure was named the #5 regional university value in the North in U.S. News and World Report’s 2022 college rankings edition.

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