LV biology students present at annual event

Alejandra Aguilar
Staff Writer

Twelve students from the University of La Verne presented their own research at the Experimental Biology Con­ference April 26-30.

The Experimental Biology Conference is an annual event held in San Diego where scientists from different science societies judge and present research.

Over 14,000 professional scientists attended the event this year.

The societies that participated were from fields such as anatomy, physiology, pathology, biochemistry, nutrition and pharmacology.

Senior biology major, Sam Arcas, presented research that looked into how the Manduca sexta moth uses a limited amount of energy to perform different tasks at the same time, like flying and digesting.

Although his research took him approximately two years to complete, Arcas said he felt like it was time well spent.

“This was something worth while,” Arcas said.

“When students look at their research, they look at it as a requirement, but when you’re at the conference, you realize it’s something more intimate. Seeing other people’s posters made me feel like I was part of a science community.”

Senior biology major Nathanael Morales, who also presented at the conference, said the conference was a good opportunity.

Morales’ research focused on the isolation of bacteriophage, a virus that essentially infects bacteria and paralyzes it.

The virus then reproduces inside of it and prevents bacterial infections.

Morales submitted his research to the nutrition society because the virus could be used to prevent food poisoning.

“It was surprising to see how big the conference was,” Morales said.

“There were people from all over the world, and I was excited to share my work and be a part of it.”

Heidy Contreras, professor of biology, who is a member of the American Physiological Society, said graduate students, post-graduate students and faculty dominate the conference.

Approximately 10 percent or less of the presenters were undergraduate students. “You have the entire San Diego Convention Center with rows and rows of posters from graduate and post graduate students,” Contreras said. “It’s kind of daunting if you’re an undergraduate there.”

Assistant Professor of An­thropology Kanya Godde also presented research of changes to the pelvis as humans age.

Many of the students’ work will lead to a publication.

Professors whose students presented included Contreras, Sarah Dunn from the kinesiology department, and Todd Lorenz and Jerome Garcia from the biology department.

Students included Priscila Escalante, Desiree Vera, Lauren Meeks, Monique Payne, Evelyn Coria, Bradley Blackshire, Corrina Cavazos, among others.

Both Arcas and Morales encourage other students to apply to present their research and become aware of the opportunities available to them.

Alejandra Aguilar can be reached at

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