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Virginia Tech Graduate Student Assembly (GSA) 25th Annual Research Symposium and Exposition


Macromolecular Interfaces with the Life Sciences (MILES) Ph.D. trainees and faculty members participated in the Graduate Student Assembly 25th Annual Research Symposium and Exposition on March 25, 2009 at Virginia Tech. This participation is important because it provided MILES students and researchers with the opportunities to exchange ideas, participate in discussions, and showcase their research in their field of study. The forum provided common ground to make new contacts and form collaborative efforts across disciplines on the Virginia Tech campus.

The MILES program is funded by the National Science Foundation through an Intergraded Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) grant. The Research Symposium is organized by the Graduate Student Assembly (GSA) and the Virginia Tech Council of Deans to bring the academic community together in a spirit of collaboration and partnership to raise awareness of the diverse, yet substantial, research pursuits by the faculty and students at Virginia Tech with each other, and members of the community. The Research Symposium is the 25th event, attracting an audience of approximately 250 faculty, staff, and undergraduate and graduate students from biochemistry, biology, food science and technology, nutrition, agricultural and applied economics, engineering, chemistry, social sciences and humanities, animal science, and the veterinary college at Virginia Tech. The MILES IGERT program had a substantial impact on the GSA Research Symposium. Six posters were presented related to MILES research and education representing approximately 6% of the scientific communications.

Address Goals

Discovery: Foster research that will advance the frontiers of knowledge, emphasizing areas of greatest opportunity and potential benefit and establishing the Nation as a global leader in fundamental transformational science and engineering. Novel research applications related to life sciences and materials research were presented by the MILES IGERT trainees at the GSA Research Symposium. Examples of the unique research innovations that are occurring within this unique multidisciplinary research program include investigating grape phenolic extracts on hyperglycemia, oxidative stress, and inflammation in mice fed a high fat diet, understanding the effects of resistant starch on postprandial glycemic responses and oxidative stress parameters in humans, investigating triglyceride composition and rheology of high oleic peanut oil and the impact on fat bloom in chocolate, dissolving Alzheimer’s amyloid plaques with red wine, relationships of segmented polyether ammonium ionenes, and using molecular modeling to investigate p53 C-terminus. MILES research activities were distributed across the scope of the GSA Research Symposium including poster presentations including chemistry, biochemistry, food science and technology, human nutrition, nutraceuticals. MILES research will impact the frontiers of knowledge by bridging the boundaries of fundamental chemistry, materials science and life sciences with the critical society impacts to animal and human health.

Learning: Cultivate a world-class, broadly inclusive science and engineering workforce and expand the scientific literacy of all citizens. The MILES program is a flag-ship example of multidisciplinary research in the biological sciences at Virginia Tech. With faculty and graduate students representing five out of the seven colleges and thirteen departments across campus, MILES research is discussed in many different forums. The multidisciplinary collaborations within the life science domain and between the life sciences and chemistry and engineering disciplines were evident through the diversity of research activities described in the GSA Research Symposium. The GSA Research Symposium created the atmosphere for bringing new research collaborations into evidence and for initiating new discussions and partnerships.