U of A Students Participate in the Sixth Annual Arkansas Bioinformatics Consortium

Arkansas research students attending the 2020 Arkansas Bioinformatics Consortium.
Samantha Robinson

Arkansas research students attending the 2020 Arkansas Bioinformatics Consortium.

Fourteen undergraduate and two graduate students recently represented the U of A at the 2020 Arkansas Bioinformatics Consortium held on Feb. 10-11 in Little Rock.

Led by Department of Mathematical Sciences professor Samantha Robinson, the group presented a total of 12 research posters.

Three student projects received awards in the poster competition. First place was given to kinesiology senior, Jessica Gilmore, and biochemistry junior, Di'Granger, for their study on antimicrobial stewardship and aspiration diagnosis.

Andrew Palmer, a biology and sociology junior, received second place for his work concerning teenage pregnancy rates in Arkansas. A junior in anthropology, James (Cameron) Tilley, received third place for his evaluation of liver functions after being treated for methamphetamine and MDMA abuse.

Jerry Adams, president/CEO of Arkansas Research Alliance and chair of the AR-BIC Governing Board said these students were particularly impressive.

"This year, with the leadership of Samantha Robinson, we piloted how to engage selected undergraduates in the conference and especially the competitive poster segment of the conference," Adams said. "Professor Robinson and her undergraduate cohort taught us that there is an extraordinary opportunity to expand and cultivate this cohort for our on-going annual conference. Not only was the engagement of the students high with the poster competition but their networking and investment with the day and a half presentation were extremely valuable."

Robinson agreed and said the students did exceptionally well.

"All of the students did a tremendous job at the conference and represented the U of A extremely well! I was so very proud of them all!," she said. "I am also very appreciative to vice chancellor Dan Sui, Jerry Adams, and the entire ARA for contributing funding and other support for this student experience. I'd also like to thank my colleague Jyotishka Datta for accompanying me and helping manage the group on the trip."

One U of A student said, "AR-BIC was a wonderful experience and my first poster presentation. The conference introduced me to all of the research that is currently underway in the state of Arkansas and introduced me to the ways our state is currently developing new technologies in artificial intelligence [this year's theme]."

Other Arkansas universities, including UAMS, attended the conference as well. The conference was hosted by the Arkansas Research Alliance, a public-private partnership organization that seeks to facilitate research initiatives across the state.

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