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HECBC Presents 13th Annual Undergraduate Research & Creativity Conference

Some of the best creative minds looking at the world’s biggest challenges haven’t even graduated from college yet. 

More than 200 undergraduates from five Berks County universities and colleges and beyond will showcase their research at the 13th Annual Undergraduate Research and Creativity Conference on Saturday, April 21, 2012, at Penn State Berks. Sessions will run from 10 a.m.–12 p.m., and 1–2 p.m. Check-in and registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. in the college’s Gaige Technology and Business Innovation Building. 

Research topics include:

  • The crisis of credit
  • Social networking and college students’ grades
  • Cyber crimes
  • Modesty in fashion
  • Cutting: an anthropological explanation
  • Female espionage in the Civil War
  • Why Black beauty is stifled in America
  • Human trafficking
  • The burqa in Kutztown
  • Mathematics behind Sodoku

Research topics are presented as academic paper presentations and academic posters. There will also be performances of music, theater and poetry, and exhibits of art and photography. 

The keynote speaker is Dr. Richard Rest, who will give his presentation at 9:00 a.m. in the Perkins Student Center Auditorium.

Rest is a Professor of Microbiology and Immunology; Director of the Center for Bacterial Pathogenesis and Biodefense, the Institute of Molecular Medicine and Infectious Diseases; and Director of Professional Development and Postdoctoral Affairs, Biomedical Graduate and Postgraduate Studies, at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia. 

Rest earned his Ph.D. in Bacterial Physiology from the University of Kansas. He began his career in bacterial pathogenesis in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Arizona in Tucson. He then moved to Hahnemann University–now Drexel University College of Medicine–where a graduate student made an observation that took the lab on a 10-year research detour; he discovered a new pore forming toxin of Bacillus anthracis, and named it Anthrolysin O. This 10-year sojourn into an agent of bioterrorism was challenging and exciting; with a whole new set of virulence factors, and a whole new cast of characters. 

Rest has now refocused on the molecular virulence mechanisms of gonorrhea and meningitis. He is passionate about mentoring students, trainees, and colleagues, and about raising awareness of scientific integrity and the responsible conduct of research within the academy. 

The conference is presented by Albright College, Alvernia University, Kutztown University, Penn State Berks, and Reading Area Community College.

For more information on the conference, please visit the Web site: berks.psu.edu/HECBC. For additional information, please Dr. Martha Aynardi at (610) 396-6228.

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