Buffalo, NY--Four State University of New York at Buffalo (SUNY Buffalo, or UB) students presented original research in diverse fields—including biophotonics—to elected officials and SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher. The presentations were a part of "Discovery—An Undergraduate Showcase," a symposium on undergraduate research and creative activities presented by the SUNY Faculty Senate on February 29 in Albany, NY.
Among the student presenters was Gary Iacobucci, a biological sciences and psychology major researching precursors to neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's, by studying fruit flies. His project, titled "Spatial and Temporal Analysis of Axonal Transport Defects in Primary Neuronal Cultures from Drosophila Larvae," was mentored by Shermali Gunawardena, research assistant professor in the university's Department of Biological Sciences at the Institute for Lasers, Photonics and Biophotonics.
"More state support means more discovery, more chances to cure disease or solve other social problems we may be facing," says Timothy Tryjankowski, director of the UB Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities, who accompanied the students to Albany. "The symposium tells the story of how investment in SUNY and its undergraduate research leads to new business, new solutions. It is a powerful story."
Tryjankowski was co-chair of the 2012 program and architect of the biannual symposium itself, to which a select group of SUNY undergraduates are invited to present meaningful research and creative work developed on various campuses, he says.
In all, more than 90 original projects were introduced by 125 SUNY undergraduates and 40-plus faculty research mentors who hailed from 23 of SUNY's four-year college campuses and university centers, and from 13 community college campuses.
The UB student participants and their projects were selected by faculty members and administrators from across the campus who conducted a comprehensive review of proposals.
The other three presenters at the symposium were Maxwell Bileschi, a junior mathematics and computer science major; Sourobh Ghosh, a junior mechanical and aerospace engineering major; and Jason Ma, a junior pharmacology and toxicology major. The alternative entrant was Caitlin McLeod, a theater design and fine arts major.