UNA Pressroom

Una Students Present At Hudsonalpha Code Virtual Student Symposium

Dec. 09, 2020

Michelle Eubanks, UNA, at media@una.edu, 256.765.4392 or 256.606.2033

Michelle Eubanks, UNA, at meubanks@una.edu, 256-606-2033 or 256-765-4392 FLORENCE, AL - Undergraduate students from the biology, computer science, and mathematics programs at the University of North Alabama took part in the HudsonAlpha CODE Virtual Student Symposium recently as part of their ongoing research into certain genetic conditions. CODE, or Characterizing our DNA Exceptions, is a program that engages undergraduates in original genomic research to encourage students interested in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math careers. Working with HudsonAlpha researchers and educators in coordination with partner schools, students use computational analyses to determine the biological relevance of DNA variants from patient and agricultural samples. As part of their participation in the program, students from UNA conducted original research in order to characterize variants of uncertain significance associated with cystic fibrosis; dwarfism; Doose syndrome, which is a form of childhood epilepsy; Cornelia deLange syndrome; Hashimoto's Thyroiditis; and Landau Kleffner syndrome. "Our students were able to complete a research project and present it to the research community," said Dr. Cynthia Stenger, Professor of Mathematics at UNA. "They all made posters that show their results from their research and created a three-minute recording so others can review it. It is a big deal that they were able to do all of this in just one semester for such significant research." The students who participated and their research topics are: Bliss Bailey - An Exploration of FGFR3 Missense Swap R669G. Grace Dodd - An Exploration of GRIN2A with Landau-Keffner Syndrome with a Missense Swap at G97D. Anja Einarsdottir - PTPN22Associated with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis and the Unknown of Variant K750N. Jennifer Olszyna - A Comparative Study of Two Variants in the HDAC8 Gene Linked to Cornelia de Lange Syndrome. Dylan Uibel - An Exploration of CFTR Missense Swap G500D compared to Phe508del. Rebekah Samuelson - CFTR Missense Swap W496R. Jacob Laughlin - Analysis of CFTR Missense Swap Y515C. Kushmeet Kathuria - An Exploration of HDAC8 Missense Swap 194T. Whitley Waters - SLC6A1 and the Gene Variant G111R. "This is the first time we have sponsored a virtual student symposium, and I'm very pleased with how it turned out," said Michele Morris, Workforce Development Lead for Educational Outreach for HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, which is based in Huntsville. "The students from UNA always do such great research with Dr. Stenger, and they represented the school well in this virtual format. All of the posters were excellent, but the short videos they made were really the highlight of their presentations. HudsonAlpha is happy to partner with UNA to create these authentic research projects." CODE projects provide research opportunities to students that do not have access to the type of well-funded research opportunities often available at research institutions by partnering with small colleges and universities for these bioinformatics research projects. More about the UNA student projects and the conference is available at https://symposium.foragerone.com/codevss20/presentations. About The University of North Alabama The University of North Alabama is an accredited, comprehensive regional state university offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs through the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Education and Human Sciences, and the Anderson College of Nursing and Health Professions. Occupying a 130-acre campus in a residential section of Florence, Alabama, UNA is located within a four-city area that also includes Muscle Shoals, Sheffield, and Tuscumbia. UNA Athletics, a renowned collegiate athletics program with seven (7) Division II National Championships, is now a proud member of the NCAA Division I's ASUN Big South Conference. The University of North Alabama is an equal opportunity institution and does not discriminate in the admission policy on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, disability, age, or national origin. For more: www.una.edu and www.una.edu/unaworks/