Fresh air and fresh perspectives joined forces at the 31st annual Research Staff Organization (RSO) Advance, with presentations from graduate students and researchers who recently joined the faculty punctuating three days of scientific discussions.
|A graduate student’s view of Lake Arrowhead, Calif., which hosted the 2011 Research Staff Organization Advance. (Photo by Rongze Lu)|
Attended this year by more than 160 City of Hope researchers, the conference took place at the University of California, Los Angeles Conference Center in Lake Arrowhead, Calif., from May 1 to 3 and featured oral and poster presentations highlighting more than 70 ongoing research projects. The meeting promotes interaction among scientists and fosters research collaborations.
Presentation topics ranged from antifungal vaccines for transplant patients to the stability of chromosomes in mammals.
The conference also highlighted newer faculty members, including Dustin Schones, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Cancer Biology, and Vu Ngo, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Division of Hematopoietic Stem Cell and Leukemia Research.
Ngo presented his efforts to find molecules that increase production of a lymphoma-boosting protein. Schones discussed his work with proteins that interact with chromosomes and how they affect gene activity.
For the first time in the meeting’s history, a graduate student chaired a seminar session, which comprised presentations by four students from the Irell & Manella Graduate School of Biological Sciences.
Then student Megan Prosser, Ph.D., discussed her efforts to improve methods of engineering T cells, important cells of the immune system, to target cancer. Ruiqing Wang, Ph.D., presented her study of molecules that affect the survival of thymocytes, which are cells that develop into disease-fighting T cells. Lucy Liu, Ph.D., explained her work exploring an anticancer drug that is based on a naturally occurring molecule. Krist Azizian anchored the session with a discussion of his studies of molecules that control the development of bone marrow stem cells into mature cells of the blood and immune systems.
Liu, Wang and Prosser recently received their Doctor of Philosophy degrees during the graduate school’s June 10 commencement ceremony. Azizian expects to receive his doctoral degree formally as part of next year’s ceremony.
The RSO Advance culminated with an awards ceremony recognizing outstanding conference presentations and posters by postdoctoral fellows and graduate students. Students Prosser and Samuel LaBarge received $500 awards for best presentation and best poster, respectively. Postdoctoral fellows Amy Chow, Ph.D., and Ali Ehsani, Ph.D., took $300 and $200, respectively, for their poster presentations.
David Ann, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Ren-Jang Lin, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, and John Williams, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Molecular Medicine, organized the conference.