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From Gorilla Genetics to Antibiotic Additives, Undergraduate Research Shines

The research runs the gamut, from identifying new genetic markers in wild gorillas to pinpointing enzymes that would alleviate osteoporosis, studying a potential additive to heighten the effects of antibiotics, and reducing the toxic form of chromium, the heavy metal introduced to the public via the Erin Brockovich movie.

The researchers–more than 100 undergraduate students from colleges and universities across the region–will present their work at the Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium hosted by the Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences at Duquesne University on Friday, July 25.

The Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium, the largest regional event of this type, will gather graduate and undergraduate students, along with faculty, to culminate a 10-week, intensive summer research program that draws undergraduates into high-level research teams. The oral and poster presentations will be given from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Symposium keynote speaker will be Dr. Scott Faber, developmental pediatrician at the Children's Institute. Faber, collaborating with Duquesne University chemistry professor Dr. H.M. “Skip” Kingston, will test a theory that toxins and pollutants may contribute to certain forms of autism by utilizing a pollutant-free “clean room” in an attempt to detoxify the children. Faber’s talk, which will start at 10:10 a.m. in the Pappert Lecture Hall of the Bayer Learning Center, will address Detoxification and Immunological Abnormalities in Children with Autism: Implications for Treatment.

“The Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium provides students and faculty from nearly 50 colleges and universities with the opportunity to share their outstanding research and discuss scientific advancements and issues with other young researchers,” said Dean David Seybert of the Bayer School. “We’re extremely proud to host this program and provide a forum for this exchange. Despite public concerns about the competitiveness of American science programs, those attending the symposium will be impressed with the remarkable scope and depth of these students’ research. This type of symposium is invaluable in the preparation of our next generation of scientists.”

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.