USF Celebrates Undergraduate Research

Field of 131 Projects Exploring Global Range of Sciences, Humanities and Arts is Largest Yet


By Vickie Chachere


TAMPA, Fla. (March 25, 2010) Undergraduate research exploring Alzheimer’s disease, cyberbullying in South Korea, the public policy effects on indigenous tribes in Panama and a modern dance created by a student inspired in Paris will be among the scores of projects featured in the 2010 Undergraduate Research Symposium and Celebration, Thursday, April 1.


The field of 131 presentations is the largest showing since the symposium began eight years ago. The event will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Marshall Student Center Ballroom.


The symposium highlights the work of USF’s undergraduates and underscores the importance of research activities in all phases of the university. Last year, USF was named the fastest-growing research university in the nation in federal funds by the Chronicle of Higher Education.


“Students love it,” said Honors College Dean Stuart Silverman. “They begin to see all the materials in their text books and journal articles come to life.”


The projects in the 2010 symposium span biotechnology, the social sciences and culture, public policy and the arts. The event is sponsored by USF’s Office of Undergraduate Research and participation is open to any USF undergraduate student.


Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio issued a proclamation declaring April 1st as USF Undergraduate Research Day. The major noted the symposium's important role in providing students with the ability to showcase their studies, earn scholarships and earn national recognition for their scholarly work.


“Just getting into the symposium is an honor,” said Naomi Yavneh, USF’s Director of Undergraduate research and the Associate Dean of the Honors College.


Since its founding, the symposium has become a USF community affair. Also sponsoring the event is USF’s Honors College, the Office of Research and Innovation and USF Student Government.


The keynote address will be delivered by Mary Newman, a PhD researcher at the Department of Neurosurgery at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.


 Newman was an undergraduate working in the lab of renowned USF child psychiatrist Archie Silver when she became a member of the team that discovered mecamylamine, a drug once used for high blood pressure, could help people with depression. Newman joined Silver and USF researchers Paul Sanberg and Doug Shytle as patent holders on a new drug created from that research, which recently was at the center of a $1.24 billion pharmaceutical licensing deal between Targacept Inc. and AstraZeneca International.


Each participant in the symposium has worked with a faculty mentor to guide their project, and additional USF faculty serve as judges for the event. The program also includes workshops from leading USF researchers on creating and presenting research posters and in oral presentation skills.


The winners will share $10,000 in scholarships. Organizers also point to the invaluable experience students gain in conducting and presenting their projects.


The event is free and open to the public.



The University of South Florida is one of the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of only 25 public research universities nationwide with very high research activity that is designated as community engaged by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.  USF was awarded $380.4 million in research contracts and grants in FY 2008/2009. The university offers 232 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The USF System has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 47,000 students on institutions/campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.