The 2022 Richard Larock Undergraduate Research Conference, the first in-person event hosted by the chemistry department since 2020, brings together students and professors from all chemistry research areas. The conference comprised student research presentations and a keynote speaker. This year’s keynote lecture featured Department of Chemistry alumna Kimberly Prather, who is now a Distinguished Professor at UC San Diego and Distinguished Chair in Atmospheric Chemistry at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
The Best Presentation Awards were given in three research categories: Chemical Biology, Organic/Inorganic Chemistry and Physical/Analytical Chemistry. Natasha Deo (David Lab), Vibha Sharma (Heffern Lab) and Jason Yi (Murray Lab) received Best Presentation Awards in the Chemical Biology category. Alexandria Adams (Balch Lab), Jeffery Toman (Shaw Lab) and Arista Wu/Brandon Vernoy (working with Ozcan Gulacar) were given Best Presentation Awards in the combined category of Organic/Inorganic chemistry. The Best Presentation Awards in Physical Chemistry were presented to Nicholas Cheng (Lebrilla Lab), Jackson Demaray/Stanislav Moroz (Stuchebrukhov Lab) and Xian Fong/Archie Mangubat (Wang Lab).
The R. Bryan Miller Symposium, held via Zoom on February 3-4, 2022, also featured student research and poster awards. This year the symposium featured 2018 Nobel Prize laureate Frances Arnold as the plenary speaker. Arnold not only serves as professor at Caltech but also serves as co-chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. The event also included speakers from academia and the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Students heard presentations from Dafydd Owen, senior scientific director of Pfizer, and James Brader, president of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research. It was also an honor to observe presentations given by Yael David from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Florence Wagner from Broad Institute of MIT/Harvard and David Baker from University of Washington.
The R. Bryan Miller Summer Graduate Fellowship, which includes one month of summer support and a monetary prize, was granted to Yuanyuan Bai (Chen Lab) and Sarah Dishman (Shaw Lab).
The R.B. Miller Research, Service, and Mentorship Award was presented to Savannah Conlon (David Lab) and RJ Tombari (Olson Lab). The award recognizes students conducting research in fields allied with the Miller Symposium and who have also demonstrated exemplary commitment to the university and the community as demonstrated by service, outreach and mentoring activities. This award also celebrates graduate students who demonstrate excellence, as exemplified by the namesake of the award, R. Bryan Miller, in research, teaching and service.
The honor of the Francesca Miller Undergraduate Award, which includes a stipend to support summer research in the lab of a UC Davis Chemistry Graduate Group PI, was received by Samuel Carter (Olson Lab).
The symposium also honored Erin Doherty (Beal Lab), Wentao Guo (Tantillo Lab), Elizabeth Lotsof (David Lab) and Trisha Nguyen (Britt Lab) for Best Graduate Student Posters. AMPAC Fine Chemicals sponsored the Best Undergraduate Posters given to Natasha Deo (David Lab), Vivian Kellner (David Lab), Albert Liu (Macalester College) and Olivia Matsumoto-Elliot (David Lab). Herra Grajo (Beal Lab) received the ACS Biochemistry Poster Award, Jose Ruiz (Shaw Lab) received the Accounts of Chemical Research Poster Award and Yuqi Huang (Liu Lab) received the ACS Central Science Poster Award.