Summer Research Conference Showcases San Diego’s Young Scholars Aug. 16

Projects range from an external artificial pancreas to paleomagnetic studies of the Salton Sea

Bryan Sanchez with faculty mentor Jeff Gee. Sanchez is studying paleomagnetic sediments of the Salton Sea and Papua New Guinea through Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s SURF program.

Undergraduate students from San Diego County’s major universities will present their research at the 2012 Summer Research Conference at the University of California, San Diego Thursday, Aug. 16. Approximately 240 young scholars are expected to participate, representing UC San Diego; California State University, San Marcos; San Diego State University and the University of San Diego, as well as students from institutions across the country who are conducting faculty-mentored research in San Diego this summer. 

“The Summer Research Conference really showcases San Diego as the place to be for undergraduate research,” said David Artis, dean of Undergraduate Research Initiatives at UC San Diego. “The influence that faculty members at all of the schools have on students over the summer and at the conference will last for years. We’re very grateful for their commitment to undergraduate research.”

Michelle Fu, a senior at UC San Diego majoring in bioengineering, is working on an external artificial pancreas for diabetes patients as part of the Amgen Scholars Program, an intensive 10-week research program at UC San Diego. Fu’s device uses biosensors that detect the level of glucose in the bloodstream. Beta cells in the device respond by automatically releasing insulin as the body needs it.

“This artificial pancreas has the potential to regulate the body more efficiently than just an insulin pump,” explained Fu, who became interested in diabetes research when her father was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. “Ultimately, this research may help lead to an implantable artificial pancreas.”

For Bryan Sanchez, a fourth year student at California State University, Northridge, the Summer Research Conference marks the culmination of a 10-week research internship at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The Scripps Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) engages students in Earth, ocean and atmospheric research, with the goal of increasing the diversity of students successfully prepared to pursue Earth and ocean sciences careers. Under the guidance of faculty mentor Jeff Gee, director of the geosciences research division, Sanchez is studying paleomagnetic sediments of the Salton Sea and Papua New Guinea.

“This research will help us understand more about the Earth’s magnetic field and how it behaves over time,” said Sanchez, who is considering Scripps Oceanography for graduate school. “This is my first time doing my own research project and it’s been a great experience. The faculty and graduate students at Scripps are so helpful, and just amazing to work with.”

UC San Diego offers numerous programs enabling undergraduates to get research training with faculty who are leading experts in their fields. Many of these programs are focused on supporting low-income or underrepresented students, including the CAMP Science Program, the MARC Scholars Program and the McNair Program, among others. To learn more about UC San Diego’s Academic Enrichment Programs, visit aep.ucsd.edu.

The Summer Research Conference takes place Thursday, Aug. 16 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the UC San Diego Price Center and is free and open to the public. To attend, please RSVP online.

Media Contact

Kristin Luciani, 858-822-3353, kluciani@ucsd.edu