Undergraduate researchers win national awards


By Beverly Makhani, Undergraduate Education

PULLMAN, Wash. – Three Washington State University undergraduates won national awards and cash prizes recently for outstanding presentations at the 2016 Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) in Tampa, Fla.

Marleny Garcia, a senior zoology and pre-medicine major from Mattawa, Wash., won in the cell biology category for her research poster, “Kallikreins in Female Reproductive Tract: New Players in Semen Liquefaction.” She works in a WSU lab that focuses on evaluating hormonal regulation in the oviduct and uterus during fertilization, pre-implantation embryo development and embryo transport using genetically engineered animal models.

Carlie Knox, a senior neuroscience and psychology major from Federal Way, Wash., won in the neuroscience category for her poster, “Sex Differences in Opioid-cannabinoid Interactions on Chronic Inflammatory pain.” She works in a WSU lab that seeks to determine how sex hormones such as testosterone and estradiol modulate pain, mood and the therapeutic and side-effects of psychoactive drugs such as opioids and cannabinoids.

Collin Warrick, a junior neuroscience major from Tacoma, Wash., won in the neuroscience category for his research, “Involvement of the Endogenous Cannabinoid System in the Prefrontal Cortex with Respect to Cognitive Flexibility.” He studies the neurobiological underpinnings of stress, their influence on the brain and behavior, and the role of the endogenous cannabinoid system in the emotional and neurobiological responses to stressful and aversive stimuli.

These winners were among six WSU undergraduate students – plus a Maine college student who participated in a summer research program at WSU – accepted to present posters at ABRCMS. Garcia, Knox and Warrick received awards from the Office of Undergraduate Research, part of WSU Undergraduate Education, to help cover the costs of attending the conference.

Read more about undergraduate researchers and their mentors at https://UndergraduateResearch.wsu.edu.