Sewanee Undergraduate Research on the National Conference Stage

Reeda Shakir SICB

To start the new year, two Sewanee undergraduate researchers traveled in early January to present their findings at the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology in Portland, Oregon. Biochemistry major Nicole Fischer, C’16, and biology major Reeda Shakir, C’17, presented posters detailing work performed in the Biology Department and on the Sewanee Domain under the supervision of Professor Brandon Moore.

Reeda’s work, titled “Gonadopodium morphology in Gambusia affinis collected from a municipal sewage treatment plant lagoon,” investigated the effect of contaminant exposure on the reproductive feature development in a fish model. Nicole presented her study, “X-ray Fluorescence Microspectra Analysis of Metal Bioaccumulation in Spotted Gar Otoliths,” which examined whether the metal content of fish ear bones can be used to predict metal content in liver and muscle tissues.

While developing communication skills in presenting their work in a public forum, these students also learned about the breadth of research career opportunities available after graduation.

(I had) an enriching experience that gave me a better insight into graduate-level research. The experience granted me a new perspective on the field of biology, since one can specialize in almost any area of interest due to the wide diversity of biological systems.” - Nicole Fischer, C’16

Attending…SICB… was a new and very beneficial experience… I didn't expect so many attendees at the conference and it was at first a bit daunting to think about having to present my work to graduate students and research professors, people who had higher levels of education than I do. However, it proved to be a great learning experience. Several professors and students observed my work and shared some helpful tips for what my next step could be in furthering my research.” - Reeda Shakir, C’17