Event showcases undergraduate research in R.I.

URI to host 10th Annual SURF Conference July 28

Media Contact: Carol McCarthy, 401-874-4147 |
Evelyn Siler, photo by Amy Dunkle

KINGSTON, R.I., July 17, 2017 — College and university students from across Rhode Island will present their summer research work July 28 when they gather for the 10th Annual Rhode Island Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows (SURF) Conference  — the state’s largest exhibition of undergraduate research.

Co-sponsored by Rhode Island IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (RI-INBRE) and Rhode Island NSF Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (RI NSF EPSCoR) — federally funded programs based at URI —the conference will feature about 150 scientific posters in the biomedical and life sciences and draw more than 400 faculty, students and administrators from across the Ocean State.

The conference will be held at the University of Rhode Island College of Pharmacy and the Center for Biological Life Sciences. The event will begin at 8 a.m. with a continental breakfast, registration and poster set-up; followed by opening remarks at 9 a.m. and the poster session at 9:30 a.m. Lunch for those who register will begin at 12:30 p.m.

Student projects include biomedical research, such as the synthesis of new drugs for Alzheimer’s disease and the development of nanoparticles for the treatment of lung cancer. Others focus on environmental science, such as investigations into the impacts of climate change on the marine life and ecosystems of Narragansett Bay.

The students work under the guidance of faculty mentors and alongside their peers. The process emphasizes communication and analytical skills and exposes students to the many career opportunities available for scientists, from the ground floor of new research to the production of biodiesel and pharmaceuticals or writing about science to convey the importance of breakthroughs.

For 10 weeks, full-time, the INBRE and EPSCoR SURF programs immerse students in their projects, researching relevant background information, designing experiments, troubleshooting problems, redesigning experiments, getting frustrated with troublesome data, redesigning experiments again, getting excited about unexpected results, interacting with and learning from colleagues, attending seminars and workshops and, ultimately, presenting their work at the conference.

The annual conference marks the culmination of the collaborative SURF program, which this year involves 99 RI-INBRE students and 24 RI NSF EPSCoR students. Acceptance to the program is based on a competitive application process run individually by RI-INBRE and RI NSF EPSCoR. With this summer’s class, RI-INBRE has engaged 874 Rhode Island undergraduates in scientific research since 2004; RI NSF EPSCoR has supported 312 since 2007.

The conference provides undergraduate students from URI, Brown University, Bryant University, Providence College, Rhode Island College, Roger Williams University, Salve Regina University and Community College of Rhode Island with the unique opportunity to present their summer research findings to their peers and to the larger Rhode Island community.

All Rhode Island students who are actively participating in scientific research are welcome to register for the conference and present their work, even if they are not formally a part of the SURF program. There is no charge to participate or attend.

Exhibitor space for potential employers, graduate schools, core facilities and other programs is available.

For complete conference details, visit the website: http://web.uri.edu/surfconference/

For questions about the conference, contact Laura Arrighi, 401-874-9288, larrighi@uri.edu

For questions about the RI-INBRE program, contact Brenton Deboned, (401) 874-9480, bdeboef@chm.uri.edu

For questions about the RI EPSCoR program, contact Jim Lemire, (401) 254-5718, jlemire@rwu.edu