College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Animal & Avian Sciences

The 28th Annual Symposium

The Department of Animal and Avian Sciences hosted its most exciting event of the year, the 28th Annual Symposium, on Thursday, May 29. Graduate students, postdocs, research associates, and faculty came together to share information they had spent the year gathering with each other and their invited guests. Posters by 24 researchers lined the halls of the building, while in the lecture hall, 10 students gave short oral presentations. 

Dr. Lisa K. Nolan, Dean of Veterinary Medicine at Iowa State University, delivered the keynote address. Her research focuses on bacterial diseases of production animals, including their effects on animal health, public safety, and food safety. Her long-term goal is to find a way to deal with E. coli in chickens. Right now, the bacteria causes colibacillosis, a disease that wreaks economic havoc on the poultry industry every year. In recent years, she has given several presentations around the world, authored refereed journal articles, written book chapters and garnered millions of dollars in research funds. "She is well-known for her research and administrative activities," said Dr. Debabrata Biswas, chair of the committee in charge of the Annual Symposium. "Her research topic was the perfect fit for our very diverse department." 

While all the oral presenters did an excellent job, Jason Sinclair, graduate student in Dr. Iqbal Hamza's lab, earned the top award for oral presentation for the third time in his career. His presentation was called "Long-range Signaling at the Intestinal-Neural Axis Pormotes Organismal Hemehomeostas in C. elegans." He spoke about the mechanisms that organisms use to control levels of heme, one of the proteins in hemoglobin, the red pigment in blood. "I chose this project because I thought it was fascinating and wanted to further investigate how the process was happening," the cell biologist stated. 

The challenge of the Symposium for Sinclair was not the material. Instead, it was in the actual presentation of the information. "Sometimes a short talk is harder than a long talk because you have to make your research really stand out in a limited amount of time. Every word counts," he asserted. "To win first place and know I was able to get my point across to the audience in 12 minutes is gratifying." Sinclair will go on to present his work at BioMetals, an annual conference held at Duke University in July. 

The ANSC Symposium is a way for the faculty to encourage the students with feedback and awards, but that is not the only purpose it serves. It also gives the presenters experience before participating in national or international conferences by presenting at the departmental level. While all the presenters did a great job, Dr. Biswas said, the winners listed below stood out. "It was difficult for the judges to pick the best two from each group." 

List of Annual Symposium winners:

Ph.D. Student of the Year: Ashley Franklin
Masters Student of the Year: Karla Garcia 

First Place Oral Presentation Award: Jason Sinclair
Second Place Oral Presentation Award: Anjuli BhaduriHauck 

First Place Poster Presentation Award: Ankita Shah
Second Place Poster Presentation Award: Ashley Franklin 

Shaffner Award, First Place Presentation of Research in Poultry: Ankita Shah
Shaffner Award, Second Place Presentation of Research in Poultry: Serajus Salaheen 

First Place Research Assistant/Postdoc Presentation Award: Nityananda Chowdhury
Second Place Research Assistant/Postdoc Presentation Award: Lingyang Xu 

Staff Member of the Year: Dan Bruce

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