Highlights of the 4th Annual INBT Undergraduate Research Symposium: Innovation Through Engineering

The Undergraduate Research Leaders at INBT celebrated their 4th year hosting the INBT Undergraduate Research Symposium, “Innovation Through Engineering,” on November 15, 2018. This student-organized event displayed an array of research from science and engineering undergraduates at all levels in the Johns Hopkins University community. The symposium provides a forum for students to not only display their research, but to engage with other undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs, faculty, and industry representatives in a professional setting.

The event featured 37 posters on topics such as diagnostic devices, cancer research, tissue repair, stem cells, drug delivery, and gene editing. Millipore Sigma sponsored the event and a representative was present to show their latest technologies to researchers and offer support. “Undergraduates need to listen to those in their corner and advocating for them. If their advocates are encouraging them to take opportunities, they should be saying yes,” said Michelle Laird, senior research sales specialist.

While many students had experience presenting research in high school, this symposium was their first-time presenting at the college level. All were enthusiastic to share and discuss their research findings with attendees and judges. Others were looking for expert advice to identify problems they encountered in their research.

Poster award winners

1st place: Santiago Balza

2nd place: Emily Chang

3rd place (Quadruple tie)
Gabrielle Grifno
Mingyu Yang
Marion Pang
Yoon Ki Joo

Crowd Favorite: Katie Jackson

“My results are displaying something that doesn’t make sense and I am hoping some smart people will help me identify what is wrong and what I am struggling with,” said Maya Lapinski, junior in Warren Grayson’s lab where she works on creating custom scaffolds to grow bones for people who have craniofacial defects.

Joseph Botkor, senior in Narutoshi Hibino’s lab, wanted comments on how he could improve his research design of 3D printed tissue patches for the heart without using scaffolds. “I wanted to get feedback on some ideas for modifications or other biomaterials.”

Joining a research project they are passionate about was also emphasized. “Sometimes undergraduates become desperate to get into a lab and get research experience that they forget to get involved in research they are proud of and genuinely interested in. I encourage them to wait until they find a project that inspires them” said Shannon Flanary, senior in Sean Sun’s lab.

This year, the symposium ended, for the first time, with a quadruple tie for third place. And as the day wrapped up, undergraduates were happy to share advice with each other and potential undergraduate researchers. Most expressed the strong need and importance to practice communicating science to technical and non-technical audiences. Raleigh Linville, Biomedical Engineering PhD student, shared advice for undergraduates considering graduate research. “They should become resilient to failure. Failure happens often in science and they need to be comfortable and accept that sometimes they will spend weeks working on something that leads to nothing. That can be hard for new researchers because they feel unhelpful or unproductive. But this helps researchers grow and learn how to work and think more effectively and efficiently.”

See the full photo album of the event on our Facebook page.

Story by Gina Wadas