Fall 2023 | mcbUSA Research Symposium

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mcbUSA Research Symposium Debuts on Campus

By Kirsten Mickelwait


mcbUSA symposium team
(From left to right) Alexandra Lydecker, Steven Huang, Celeste Yen, and Jeremy Pietropaolo (not pictured) were the team that organized the symposium.

The Molecular & Cell Biology Undergraduate Association (mcbUSA) — MCB’s oldest sponsored student organization — is a committee-based group dedicated to strengthening student-faculty relationships and exploring biological careers in health and industry. On September 30, the club held its first annual research symposium on campus to showcase the research of undergraduate students, including those who participated in the 2023 Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP). The symposium featured 28 student presenters and attracted more than 100 students and others from departments including MCB, Chemistry, Bioengineering, Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology. 

“At mcbUSA, we aim to promote our professional and educational development through a variety of resources, and to introduce new events we haven’t tried before,” said Celeste Yen, mcbUSA’s education chair. “It was exciting to take part in the creation of a brand-new event —  this was our first-ever symposium and it was born of all our own ideas. Seeing the RSVP forms of the growing number of participants was thrilling.”

In preparation for the event, and for the benefit of mcbUSA’s newsletter subscribers, a Zoom workshop on creating research posters was offered on September 12 and attracted 24 participants. Professor Kimberly Freeman discussed how to organize presentation posters, the use of proper terminology, and formatting before opening up the session to a Q&A.

mcbUSA symposium poster session
The mcbUSA Research Symposium attracted more than 100 attendees

The symposium brought tremendous value to both guests and presenters. “I presented at the symposium in order to immerse myself firsthand in the process of developing a research proposal,” said Elliot Chang, a second-year student studying molecular and cell biology with an emphasis in immunology. “It was so valuable to witness the mind-blowing research that undergraduates are conducting at Berkeley. My perspective was really broadened as to what I might be able to pursue myself, as I'm currently still looking for research or internship opportunities.”

After reviewing feedback from presenters, the event’s organizers plan to build upon their success and hold another mcbUSA symposium in spring 2024. They hope to expand the event to include a professor or industry professional as a guest speaker as well as to offer an opportunity for senior students to practice presenting their senior theses. 


To learn more, visit the mcbUSA website, the SURP web page, or the 2023 SURP Project spreadsheet.




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