Ten Northern students presented research at the annual NM-INBRE (New Mexico IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence) conference in Santa Fe last weekend. The students have all benefited in some way from the funding and opportunities provided by the NM-INBRE grant (a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant), which focuses on increasing students’ biomedical and biobehavioral research capacity.
“This is a great opportunity for our students,” said Dr. Mario Izaguirre-Sierra, Assistant Professor of Biology, “and the grant also gives us funding to send students to several other international scientific conferences throughout the United States each year.”
“Presenting research at conferences like the NM-INBRE helps me understand all of the concepts that I learned and didn't learn throughout my research,” said Sergio Cordova, a Northern student who presented research on spinal muscular atrophy in plants at the conference last weekend.
At Northern, providing undergraduate student research opportunities has become a priority for many of the college’s STEM disciplines. Dr. Izaguirre-Sierra went to the NM-INBRE annual conference with seven of his students and Dr. Ulises Ricoy, Associate Professor of Biology and Chair of the Department of Biology, Chemistry and Environmental Science, attended with three student researchers who work with him on their research. Dr. Ricoy also presented a poster for a research project of his own. Also present from Northern were Dr. David Torres, Chair of the Department of Math and Science, and Provost Dr. Pedro Martinez, liaison for the NM-INBRE grant at Northern.
“Having the opportunity to present my research at conferences such as NM-INBRE, improves my communication and presentation skills,” said Britney Martinez, another Northern student researcher at the conference. “It is also a good opportunity to network, and I'm able to see other undergraduate and graduate research.”
The NM-INBRE grant is a five-year grant just finishing out its second year, with the third year of the grant beginning April 1, 2016. The lead institution for the grant is New Mexico State University with Northern and a handful of other institutions across the state also participating. In addition to funding student research projects and travel to conferences to present research, NM-INBRE also provides funding to pay students who work in labs at Northern.
Dr. Mario Izaguirre-Sierra and some of the Northern student researchers at the NM-INBRE Annual Conference in Santa Fe, March 19, 2016. First row (left to right) Britney Martinez, MaegenLynn Griego, Alma Gallegos, Melany Rodriguez; back row (left to right) Dr. Izaguirre-Sierra, Sergio Cordova, Maria Orozco. Other Northern researchers participating in the conference, not pictured, were Dr. Ulises Ricoy with students Aspen Lowance, Brigit Ortiz and Lisa Salazar.