Spring 2016 Undergraduate Research Poster Competition Winners

The department is pleased to announce winners of the spring 2016 Undergraduate Research Poster Competition. 65 undergraduates presented research posters at the competition on May 4. Judges selected six posters to compete in the final round. Winners Bobi Simonsen and Eric Wei will present their posters at the AIChE Annual Meeting this fall in San Francisco, CA.


Bobi Simonsen, winner of the 2016 Spring Undergraduate Poster CompetitionBobi Simonsen, Junior
 (Contreras Group)
Evaluating ethanol production in RNA-engineered strains of Zymomonas mobilis

Bobi works with regulatory RNAs to develop new strategies for engineering bacteria now used to produce biofuels.  With efficient and robust microbes as our factories, chemicals can be produced in a sustainable way.





Eric Wei, winner of the 2016 Spring Undergraduate Poster CompetitionEric Wei, Junior
 (Stovall Group)
Alternative ELISA using an RNA Aptamer against Calf Intestinal Alkaline Phosphatase

The ELISA, or enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, is a common medical diagnostic used to quantitate antibodies or antigens in blood serum. Eric’s research focuses on developing a cheaper, more robust ELISA platform using an RNA nucleic acid binding species, or aptamer. This will allow the assay to be packaged, stored, and performed in places with limited access to healthcare without the risk of assay degradation.

 1st Alternate

Ayush Sharma, 1st alternate of the 2016 Spring Undergraduate Poster CompetitionAyush Sharma, Senior
 (Johnston Group)
Effects of Co-Solutes on Viscosities of High Concentration Protein Solutions

Ayush works with proteins that are intended to fight antigens in the body. His goal is to introduce various other compounds into the protein solutions that interact with and break up the protein structures. This is important for the pharmaceutical industry because it lowers viscosity and allows for higher protein concentrations in subcutaneous injections of antibodies.




Thanks to graduate student judges Christopher Dundas, Bart Dear, Aaron Burkey, Vikas Reddy Voggu, Matt Beaudry, Andrea DiVenere, Alon Kirsch, and Emily Adkins. Students are encouraged to participate in this competition, which takes place every semester in the McKetta Study Hall, to showcase their research and sharpen their presentation skills.

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