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Press Release:

MEDIA CONTACT: Paige Garrido

FAU Students Place at Life Sciences South Florida STEM Research Symposium

MIAMI, Fla. (April 12, 2013) – Danielle Howard and Samantha Amat, seniors in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science at Florida Atlantic University, recently placed first and second respectively for poster presentations at the inaugural Life Sciences South Florida (LSSF) STEM Research Symposium. The event took place at the Miami-Dade College North Campus and hosted 72 undergraduate students from eight of Florida’s colleges and universities: Florida Gulf Coast University, Florida International University, Indian River State College, Nova Southeastern University, Palm Beach State College, University of Miami, as well as Miami-Dade College and FAU. 

Howard was awarded first place for her poster titled, “Effects of Anoxia on Methionine Sulfoxide Reductase (Msr) Deficient Drosophila,” and Amat was awarded second place for her poster titled, “Exploring the Role of Semaphorin 7A in Monocyte Chemo Attraction in a Breast Cancer Model.”  Students were judged on rationale, literature review/background theory, methods, data analysis and conclusions.

“It was exciting to be around other undergraduates who are also involved in research,” said Howard. “Overall, it was a brilliant first experience for me, and I'm really looking forward to attending future conferences.”

All 72 participants were undergraduate students in the STEM disciplines: science, technology, engineering, students could participate in either oral presentations, poster presentations or both. Eleven undergraduate students represented FAU at the Symposium. FAU faculty Donna Chamely-Wiik, Ph.D., David Binninger, Ph.D., Ceylan Asli Oner, Ph.D., and Howard Prentice, Ph.D., served as judges, along with Arunody Sur, Ph.D. student.

“There are a significant number of highly talented, motivated and hardworking undergraduates at FAU and Danielle is clearly one of them,” said Binninger, Howard’s faculty mentor. “In my 20 plus years at FAU, I have recruited a number of undergraduates to join my research program where they work side-by-side with the graduate students. Many of those students have continued their studies as graduate students in my lab. Events like the LSSF Symposium are a very positive move toward highlighting the success of these dedicated undergraduates as they prepare for graduate school, medical school or other professional programs.”

The student winners each received an iPad Mini, and all participants received a $10 Starbucks gift card. LSSF plans to make this symposium an annual event.

“I was delighted with the result of the conference. It was wonderful to see our young student researchers engaged in presenting their work and having conversations with their peers, administrators, and industry leaders,” said Irma Becerra Fernandez, Ph.D., vice president of engagement at FIU and co-chair of LSSF. “Next year, one of our main goals will be to increase the participation of industry leaders and provide our students with even more exposure to local companies and future job opportunities.”

For more information, contact Donna Chamely-Wiik, Ph.D., at 561-297-1019 or


Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of three signature themes – marine and coastal issues, biotechnology and contemporary societal challenges – which provide opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU’s existing strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit

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