Biology Student Wins Poster Competition at National Conference

Biology Student Wins Poster Competition at National Conference
Senior biology student Kristine Nodarse points out her research poster on Werner Syndrome, which recently one first place in a competition at a national science conference for minority students.

Kristine Nodarse, a senior biology major and student in Science Educational Enhancement Services (SEES), won first place in a poster competition at a national science conference for minority students, held Oct 2-5 in Albuquerque, N.M.

Nodarse was one of several Cal Poly Pomona students who attended the annual Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) conference. Her poster on an accelerated aging syndrome won first place in the conference?s biology/bioinformatics category. More than 430 students presented posters in about 30 categories.

Nodarse spent this past summer in a Yale University genetics lab that is researching Werner Syndrome, a rare disorder that causes someone to age at an accelerated rate after puberty. Symptoms include early onset of gray hairs, cataracts, osteoporosis and type II diabetes. Most of those afflicted with Werner Syndrome die in their mid-40s.

Under faculty supervision, Nodarse performed gene-silencing experiments on the human gene for Werner Syndrome. Her work included using RNAi, or RNA Interference, a technique used to knock out the expression of a specific gene. Finding out more about the Werner Syndrome gene could have implications into understating more about the aging process.

?It was pretty intense to be working on such a small level,? says Nodarse. ?All this stuff is taking place inside this little gene.?

Nodarse started out with the SEES program in Bioquest, a summer transition program that introduces students to the campus. The goal of SEES is to promote diversity among students in the College of Science. This was Nodarse?s third year attending the SACNAS conference, but it was her first time presenting.

Barbara Burke, SEES director and chemistry professor, says it is beneficial for Cal Poly Pomona SEES students to attend the SACNAS conference because it allows them to interact with academic, government and industry research scientists who are career role models for minority science students.

Nodarse is also Science Council President and a member of MBRS-RISE, the college?s Minority Biomedical Research Support ? Research Initiative For Scientific Enhancement.

After graduating Cal Poly Pomona, Nodarse plans to pursue a doctorate in public health, and then work in an urban setting helping mothers and children with health education and prevention issues.