Marymount Manhattan College had a forceful presence at this year’s Experimental Biology conference in San Diego. This annual conference is the major international meeting of the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB). MMC Biology major Zane Younger ’16 and Biomedical Sciences major Taylor Allen ’17 presented a poster on human polymerase kappa, a translesion synthesis enzyme. Biology major Elevit Perez ’17 presented his work on DinB, a translesion polymerase from E. coli. All three students work with Dr. Benedetta Sampoli Benitez in the computational biochemistry lab at MMC. The students presented at the undergraduate poster competition as well as in the general meeting.
In her role as National Chair of the ASBMB Student Chapters organization, Dr. Ann Aguanno, Professor of Biology at MMC, hosted several events during the conference to promote the benefits of membership for students and faculty. In addition, Dr. Aguanno gave a talk on a series of NSF-funded workshops she has directed on molecular life science pedagogy. Dr. Aguanno held one of these workshops at MMC this past March. She also presented a poster with colleagues on comparing the process of promotion and tenure at academic institutions across the country.
At the conference, Drs. Aguanno and Sampoli Benitez served as lead judges in the undergraduate poster competition event.
The conference gave MMC undergraduates exceptional exposure to an international scientific meeting. Elevit Perez said of the experience, “There was a sense of accomplishment in presenting my research to people from various institutions across the country.” Taylor Allen said, “The talks that we attended were very interesting, and the speakers were so passionate about their research. It was also great to see so many young people involved in science and presenting their research at the poster session.” Zane Younger reported, “Presenting at EB2016 solidified my ability to perform at the level my professors here have primed me to handle. I will take what I have learned from the experience and incorporate it into the way I deal with high-pressure situations both in and outside of academic settings.”