Undergraduate Research Conference features stellar summer research from across York 

Professor Jane Heffernan presenting a keynote address at the conference

On August 18, the Faculty of Science hosted its annual Summer 2022 Undergraduate Research Conference. It was the first time since 2019 that the event could be held in-person. 

Buzzing with undergraduate researchers, faculty members and staff, the conference was an opportunity for recipients of NSERC Undergraduate Summer Research Awards (USRA), Dean’s Undergraduate Research Awards (DURA), and York Science Scholars Awards (YSSA) to present their summer research projects and to meet other awardees. 

Fifty-five students from the Faculties of Science, Health, Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, and Environmental & Urban Change, and the School of Arts, Media, Performance & Design attended and shared their research projects and findings through talks and poster presentations. 

The event opened with welcoming remarks from the Faculty of Science Associate Dean of Students Michael Scheid and the Faculty of Health Associate Dean of Research Chris Ardern

“I hope that your research experiences have given you a deeper perspective of what frontline research is all about, helped you learn new skills and more about your interests, and led to new friendships and collaborations,” said Scheid.  

Awardee Mahya Rezaeifarimani (centre) pictured with Associate Vice-President of Research Jennifer Hyndman (left) and Faculty of Science Associate Dean of Research & Partnerships Vivian Saridakis (right)

The first talk of the day was presented by Professor Jane Heffernan, who delivered a keynote address on modelling immunity, focusing particularly on COVID-19. Ten students then presented talks in a morning session, and the remaining students presented posters in an afternoon session. The student presentations were judged by faculty members, postdocs and graduate students and the winners for best presentations were announced at the end of the event. 

The following students received awards for their poster presentations: 

  • Minoosh Fathi – First place (tied) for the presentation “Phylogenetic history and molecular evolution of vertebrate opsins,” supervised by biology Professor Ryan Schott 
  • Mahya Rezaeifarimani – First place (tied) for the poster presentation “Synthesis of Monodisperse Silica Nanoparticles and the Incorporation of Fluorophores,” supervised by chemistry Professor Jennifer Chen 
  • Selin Tahir – Third place for the poster presentation “A scoping review of the literature on malaria statistical models and development of a cross-country predictive model for malaria in the Global South,” supervised by Professor Jude Kong in the Department of Mathematics & Statistics 

The following students received awards for their oral presentations: 

  • Aleeza Qayyum – First place for the presentation “The Hyperphosphorylation of Amyloidogenic Tau,” supervised by chemistry Professor Derek Wilson 
  • Areeba Chaudhury – Second place for the presentation “Generation of Xeno Nucleic Acid (XNA) Aptamers Against Human α-Thrombin using T3 Ligase-catalyzed OligOnucleotide PolymERizations (LOOPER),” supervised by chemistry Professor Ryan Hili 
  • Claire Del Zotto – Third place for the presentation “Analysing Plant-Pollinator Interactions Along an Urbanisation Gradiant,” supervised by biology Professor Sandra Rehan 
Aleeza Qayyum presenting at the conference. Qayyum received the first place award in the oral presentation category

The event closed with remarks from Faculty of Science Associate Dean of Research & Partnerships Vivian Saridakis and Associate Vice-President of Research Jennifer Hyndman.  

“Students, it has been an honour to listen to your presentations today,” said Saridakis in her closing remarks. “I know a lot of hard work went into your research projects and putting together your abstracts and presentations for today’s event. Bravo and thank you to everyone for participating.” 

Read more about the students and their projects in the conference program booklet.  Event photos are available on the Faculty of Science Facebook page