Caressa Morris
Caressa Morris

How a Postdoctoral Fellow Gives Back to ABRCMS

Published in Blog

In 2008 as an undergraduate senior, Dr. Victor Ocasio Ramirez, won a presentation award at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS). Ten years later he attended ABRCMS again to provide valuable mentorship to students through the Judge Travel Award. Dr. Ocasio Ramirez explains how he became interested in science as an undergraduate, his current research as a postdoctoral fellow at Duke University, and why attending ABRCMS was a gratifying experience.

Tell me about your background.
I am originally from a small town in Puerto Rico, where I studied Industrial Biotechnology at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez. I developed an interest in basic science, specifically microbiology. In 2014, I obtained my Ph.D. in molecular microbiology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. Currently, I am a postdoctoral fellow at Duke University working in host pathogen interactions.

What first made you interested in science?
As a second-year undergraduate student, I had the rare opportunity to conduct research with Dr. Joseph Bonaventura from Duke University studying the antimicrobial properties of the plantain plant. I got to travel to different parts of Puerto Rico to collect diverse plantain samples for my experiments. A year later, I joined a plant biotechnology laboratory where I studied gene expression profiles in transgenic Cassava plants using emerging qRT-PCR technology. Both of these experiences were fundamental in cementing my passion for science.

What is your current research about?
My research involves the study of host microbe interactions. More specifically, how pathogenic bacteria have evolved to evade the immune response and grow in what it seems to be a hostile environment. Chlamydia trachomatis is a sexually transmitted pathogen that contains more than a hundred proteins predicted to be secreted to the host. These effector proteins help Chlamydia establish its intracellular lifestyle, elude the immune response and take control of many host cellular processes. I employ a combination of genetics, biochemistry and cell biology methods to characterize the function of these secreted effectors.

How were your experiences with ABRCMS both as a student and judge?
Both of these experiences were different for me because I had very different perspectives each time I went. As an attendee in 2008, I was an eager senior undergraduate student looking for the next step in my academic career, graduate school. I remember walking up and down tirelessly through the aisles looking at the booths of different universities. At this point, I was trying to decide which institution would make me feel welcomed as an underrepresented minority, but also be a great fit for me academically. In 2018 as a judge, I was able to share the experiences of what it is like to earn a Ph.D. I walked tirelessly up and down the aisles of posters talking to students, giving advice and encouraging them to do the same thing I did ten years ago.

Why should someone consider being a judge at ABRCMS?
Being a judge at ABRCMS is much more than scoring presentations. You get to meet a myriad of students from different backgrounds that are excited and passionate about science. But some of them lack the experience or don’t know what to do next. As a judge, you have the opportunity to interact with all of these students and to learn about their background and give them advice based on your personal experiences. This was one of the most gratifying experiences I had in 2018.

What advice do you have for students considering submitting an abstract to the conference?
Have a clear hypothesis of your project or model and share the abstract with your peers and mentor. If they can understand your research project from the abstract alone, then you’ve written an abstract where the points come across clearly.

How has your ASM membership impacted your career?
As an ASM member, I’ve attended various conferences like ABRCMS and ASM Microbe where I presented my research and networked with colleagues. Also, in 2018 I participated in the Best Practices in Curriculum Design, Teaching and Assessment webinar, which showed me a different aspect of academia and made me an attractive candidate for the Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) program at Duke in 2018-2019. I taught as an adjunct professor at Elon University for one semester and put into practice many of the concepts I learned in the ASM webinar. Overall, since becoming an ASM member, I’ve had many opportunities to improve my career, get access to a wide network of scientists and see the impact of the work I am doing.


ABRCMS 2019 will be held November 13-16 in Anaheim, California. Apply for funds to attend the conference as a judge.

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ABRCMS 2019 Meal Plan

Published in Register

The meal plan for ABRCMS 2019 includes the following: 

  • Wednesday: Dinner
  • Thursday: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  • Friday: Breakfast and Lunch
  • Saturday: Breakfast, Lunch, and Awards Banquet Dinner

Special dietary needs are collected during the registration process and must be submitted by Oct. 10, 2019. If you are registering a group, please be sure to confirm with each individual prior to completing their registration to identify any special dietary needs.

Final menus will be sent to all attendees no later than Sept. 23, 2019, and attendees will have until Oct. 10, 2019, to review the menus and update your preferences. We cannot guarantee that we will be able to accommodate any dietary changes on-site.

All allergens under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) are accommodated by ABRCMS. Working with our food and beverage vendors, we select menus that avoid shellfish, nuts, and peanuts. Despite taking every precaution, we cannot guarantee that menu items are free of trace amounts of allergens or other ingredients.

We ask that only those individuals that have a food allergy or intolerance select that option and indicate which food you are allergic too. Unfortunately, we cannot accommodate non-allergy related dietary requests, such as taste preferences or specialty diets (Keto, Paleo, etc.).

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your dietary needs, please contact ABRCMS Customer Service:

Toll Free (U.S. and Canada): 1-800-974-3621
International: +1-240-439-2921
9 a.m. - 5 p.m. (EST)
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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ABRCMS 2019 Registration

Published in Register

Registration is open!

Registration Type Advanced Registration
On or Before Oct. 18, 2019
On-Site Registration
After Oct. 18, 2019
Registration Inclusions
Administrator $550 $575 Conference Fees and Meal Plan
Community College Student $475 $500 Conference Fees and Meal Plan
Exhibitor  $550 $575 Conference Fees and Meal Plan
Faculty $550 $575 Conference Fees and Meal Plan
Graduate Master's/Doctoral Student   $525 $550 Conference Fees and Meal Plan
Graduate Student Exhibitor $525 $550 Conference Fees and Meal Plan
High School Student/Minor $475  $500 Conference Fees and Meal Plan
Postbaccalaureate Student $475 $500 Conference Fees and Meal Plan
Postdoctoral Scientist Exhibitor $525  $550 Conference Fees and Meal Plan
Postdoctoral Scientist $525 $550 Conference Fees and Meal Plan
Program Director $550  $575 Conference Fees and Meal Plan

Undergraduate Student 
(Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior)

$475 $500 Conference Fees and Meal Plan

 Register Now!

Banquet only registration can be purchased on-site for a fee of $75. Please note that a banquet only registration requires the purchase of a meal plan ticket. 

Meal Plan – Your registration includes the following meals: 

Wednesday: Dinner
Thursday: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Friday: Breakfast, Lunch
Saturday: Breakfast, Lunch, Awards Banquet Dinner

Registration Steps

Step 1: Decide if you're registering for an individual or a group. 

When registering for ABRCMS, you can register an individual (yourself) or register for a group of two or more people. 

Step 2: Register. 

After determining whether you're registering an individual or a group, you can get started on the registration process. Early bird rates end on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. 

Step 3: Book your hotel. 

You can make your hotel reservations at the same time you register, all in one process. All housing arrangements must be made through the official ABRCMS Housing Bureau by Oct. 25, 2019, to receive the discounted ABRCMS rate. Rooms are booked on a first-come, first-served basis, so booking early is highly encouraged. 

If you wish to make hotel reservations separately from your registration, you can reserve your room(s) only at the beginning of the registration process. 

Payment

Accepted forms of payment include: 

Credit Card
University/Institute Checks or Money Orders
University/Institute checks or money orders must be made payable to Experient, Inc. Please do not make payments to ABRCMS nor ASM. 

When paying with a check or money order, attendees must first complete the online registration indicating that they are paying with a check. Once complete, attendees must print the online registration invoice, attach payment, and mail to the following address: 

Experient, Inc. 
5202 Presidents Court
Frederick, MD 21703

After Oct. 9, University/Institute checks must be brought on-site; payment will be applied when you check in at the registration desk. Registration will open at 12 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 13. Personal checks will not be accepted. 

To receive the discount rate, you must pay in full be Oct. 18. If we have not received your payment by this date, you must pay the on-site rate. 

Registration Confirmation/Receipt

Within five business days of payment, attendees will receive an official ABRCMS confirmation via email. Print this email as it also serves as your receipt. 

You are not considered an ABRCMS registrant until full payment is processed and you have received the official ABRCMS confirmation via email. 

If you do not recieve the official ABRCMS confirmation within five business days after submitting payment, check your junk mail folder before contacting Experient. 

Need another copy of your confirmation email? Log back into your account and select "View/resend email" on the confirmation page. Alternatively, you can contact Experient to request the confirmation email be resent. 

Contact Registration

Experient
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
U.S. and Canada: 800-974-3621
International: 240-439-2921
9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (EST)

On-site Registration Hours

Conference Registration Hours - Anaheim Convention Center

  • Wednesday, November 13: 12 (noon) – 8 p.m. 
  • Thursday, November 14: 7:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. 
  • Friday, November 15: 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Saturday, November 16: 7:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. 

 

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Call for Session Proposals

Published in Present at ABRCMS

Share your Expertise

The Call for Session Proposals is now closed.

ABRCMS conference and programmatic goals are to 1) encourage undergraduates to pursue advanced training and careers in the biomedical and behavioral sciences, 2), provide faculty mentors, advisors, and program leaders with resources for facilitating student success, 3) engage, educate, inspire, and broaden participation in STEM education and careers to an interdisciplinary audience, 4) provide a forum to explore the diverse spectrum of STEM research and connect attendees with experts in the field, and 5) articulate the importance of the research to a diverse audience.

ABRCMS programming is a compilation of committee generated topics, solicited proposals, and attendee feedback. Diversity among the session leaders, panelists, topics, and varied perspectives are strongly favored, as this will ensure a stronger program. ABRCMS seeks to provide a balanced program that provides opportunities to engage in meaningful conversations that feature diverse speakers on a wide range of topics. Innovative sessions are strongly encouraged.

Note: Individuals who submit proposals that specifically promote organizations or institutions will not be considered through the regular proposal process, but instead will be referred to the ABRCMS Exhibits Programs to purchase a booth.

All session proposals must be submitted via the online portal.
Check out the 2018 ABRCMS Final Program.

Scientific Session Proposals

ABRCMS is soliciting cutting-edge scientific research proposals for innovative and engaging STEM talks to inspire the next generation of scientists. ABRCMS is comprised of 12 STEM disciplines and encourages multidisciplinary research to make transformative discoveries. 

Session Type

  • Expert Lecture Format (30 minutes): This lecture will be conducted by up to two experts in one of the 12 Scientific Disciplines, who has a breadth of knowledge to share conceptual innovations on emerging scientific concepts. (Session will be limited to 20 minutes with 10 minutes for Q&A.)

Scientific Disciplines

  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Biology
  • Cell Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Computational and Systems Biology
  • Developmental Biology and Genetics
  • Engineering, Physics and Mathematics
  • Immunology
  • Microbiology
  • Neuroscience
  • Physiology and Pharmacology
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences and Public Health 

Requirements

The following information will be required in your proposal:

  • Session title (should be short and catchy to draw a crowd)
  • Description, to include up to three learning objectives (150 words or less) 
  • Scientific discipline
  • Speaker(s)
  • Speaker diversity
  • Speaker bio (150 words or less)
  • Speaker photo
  • Funding request
  • A/V request
  • Preferred room set-up (banquet/crescent rounds, classroom, or theatre) 

Review Criteria

Scientific session proposals will be rated on the following components:

  1. Significance and overall impact
    Topic should focus on one or more of the 12 scientific disciplines. Areas of unique research topics include are highly encouraged. 

  2. Audience
    Topic should be appealing to all ABRCMS attendee types. 

  3. Speakers
    Speakers should have expertise in the content area.

All session proposals will be reviewed by a Committee member to ensure that they articulate the goals, benefits and outcomes of the session to attendees. Please note that poorly written proposals will be rejected.

Funding Options 

Your session can be funded through three options: 

  1. Sponsored Session: The sponsor will provide ABRCMS with $5,000  to cover up to two speaker expenses, including a small honorarium. The sponsoring organization/institution will be recognized in the mobile app and final program.

  2. The speaker will cover all expenses (e.g. registration, travel, and lodging) directly. Please note that ABRCMS will not be responsible for covering any expenses. 

  3. The submitter may recommend up to four speakers; however, they can only request ABRCMS to cover all expensees for up to two speakers. If the session requires more than two speakers, it will be the responsibility of the speaker or institution/organization to incur the additional costs. 

Submit Session Proposal

Session proposal submission is now closed.  

Contact Us

Tiffani Fonseca
202-942-9283
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Professional Development Session Proposals

ABRCMS is soliciting Professional Development proposals to encourage undergraduates to pursue advanced training and careers in the biomedical and behavioral sciences and to promote professional and skillset development for students and non-students.

Sessions geared toward trainees must focus on advancing trainees educational and career development. Sessions geared toward non students must focus on facilitating student success or help to advance attendees career growth. Professional development sessions can be geared toward a general audience or specific groups, including:

  • Community college and nontraditional students
  • Undergraduate and postbaccalaureate students
  • Graduate students and postdoctoral scientists
  • Faculty, program directors, and exhibitors

All professional development sessions must add to the ongoing discussions of the larger conference themes and goals. Attendees should have actionable takeaways that will further their career development and skillset.

Due to the limited slots available, sessions that are not accepted for a face-to-face presentation at the 2019 ABRCMS conference may be recommended for a webinar presentation.

Session Types

  • Expert Lecture (45 minutes): Lecture will be conducted by up to two experts in a specific field, who have a breadth of knowledge to share conceptual innovations on trending professional development topics. (Session will be limited to 35 minutes with 10 minutes for Q&A.)

  • Interactive/Skill-Building Session Format (1 hour): Session allows the speaker(s) to engage the audience in an invigorating discussion through active demonstrations such as: role-playing, break-out groups, and/or strategic games to increase the audiences’ conceptual knowledge on the content presented and how to employ such techniques and strategies, as they matriculate in the STEM field. (Session will be limited to 50 minutes with 10 minutes for Q&A).

  • Panel Discussion Format (1 hour): Discussion is designed for panelists to share their viewpoints and experiences on trending topics and to cultivate the audiences’ awareness on inclusive subject matters. (Session will be limited to 50 minutes with 10 minutes for Q&A.)

  • Workshop Format (up to 4 hours): Workshop allows facilitators to engage the audience through break-out groups to increase their knowledge through case-based learning and how to employ such methodologies and strategies in the field of STEM. (Workshops may proceed up to 4 hours, which will be up to the discretion of the ABRCMS programming team.)

Suggested Session Topics

  • Career Pathways (i.e. industry, science policy, entrepreneurship, research, government, etc.) 
  • Curriculum development (i.e. innovative pedagogy, CURE, SEA-PHAGES)
  • Diversity, inclusion and equity (i.e. overcoming imposter syndrome, strategies for increasing diversity in higher education, etc.)
  • Enhancing skills (i.e. job search strategies, time management, etc.)
  • Evaluation and assessment (i.e. best practices, tools for evaluating program effectiveness, etc.) 
  • Graduate school preparation (i.e. finding funding, preparing personal statements, interviewing, etc.)
  • Mentoring (i.e. utilizing mentoring as a personal development strategy, navigating mentoring relationships, selecting a good mentor, etc.)
  • Social constructivism (i.e. scientific learning influenced by social constrains, processes of belief structures, etc.) 
  • Teaching strategies (i.e. creating an inclusive classroom, evidence-based teaching, case-based learning, etc.)
  • Other (i.e. ethics, applying for grants, etc.) 

Requirements

  • Session title: title should be short, but descriptive
  • Session description: in 100 words or less, describe the session to potential attendees, as it should appear in conference programming
  • Session goals: express the intended outcomes and learning goals of the session
  • Intended audience: indicate the target audience for the session
  • Session speakers: provide background and contact information for each speaker, including relevant past presentations and a short speaker biography
  • Speaker diversity: every attempt should be made to include speakers of diverse backgrounds, including gender, ethnicity and scientific disciplines
  • Funding request: plans for funding the session

The format of sessions can vary based on audience and talk. Types of formats include panel discussions, lectures or small group discussions.

Review Criteria 

Professional development session proposals will be rated on the following components:

  1. Significance and overall impact
    The proposal should contribute to one or more of ABRCMS goals: (i) encourage students toward graduate or professional education, training, and research careers, (ii) provide resources for faculty, researchers, and program directors to help them succeed as scientists, advisers, educators, and leaders, (iii) prepare students for the evolving and interdisciplinary nature of STEM research and careers, and (iv) provide resources to help underrepresented minorities succeed in STEM.

  2. Audience
    Professional development sessions should target the following audiences:
    • Community college and nontraditional students
    • Undergraduate and postbaccalaureate students
    • Graduate students and postdoctoral scientists
    • Faculty, program directors, and exhibitors

  3. Speakers
    Speakers should have expertise in the content area they are presenting on. Speakers from diverse background and experience are highly encouraged.

All session proposals will be reviewed by a Committee member to ensure that they clearly articulate the goals, benefits, and outcomes of the session to attendees. Please note that poorly written proposals will be rejected. 

Funding Options 

Your session can be funded through three options: 

  1. Sponsored Session: The sponsor will provide ABRCMS with $5,000  to cover up to two speaker expenses, including a small honorarium. The sponsoring organization/institution will be recognized in the mobile app and final program.

  2. The speaker will cover all expenses (e.g. registration, travel, and lodging) directly. Please note that ABRCMS will not be responsible for covering any expenses. 

  3. The submitter may recommend up to four speakers; however, they can only request ABRCMS to cover all expensees for up to two speakers. If the session requires more than two speakers, it will be the responsibility of the speaker or institution/organization to incur the additional costs. 

Submit Session Proposal

Session proposal submission is now closed. 

Contact Us

Tiffani Fonseca
202-942-9283
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   

 

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