The Pathways to Undergraduate Research

In November the Texas A&M University System held its 11th annual Pathways Student Research Symposium for undergraduate and graduate students in Kingsville.  Over 400 students from all Texas A&M campuses presented oral and poster presentations throughout the Symposium, with an awards ceremony was held at the conclusion of the event. Dr. Margie Moczygemba, an Assistant Professor of Microbial and Molecular Pathogenesis at Texas A&M University Kingsville was the keynote speaker for Pathways this year.

Connor McBroom
Connor McBroom

Texas A&M University College Station students Aaron Griffin and Connor McBroom attended the 2013 Pathways Student Research Symposium. Griffin, a sophomore biochemistry, genetics, and pure mathematics major from Missouri City is a Class of 2016 University Scholar, 2014 Undergraduate Research Scholar and a senior editor for the Explorations Undergraduate Journal. McBroom, biochemistry major from Maryland is also an Undergraduate Research Scholar and an editor for the Explorations Undergraduate Journal.

Aaron Griffin
Aaron Griffin

To apply, their online abstract had to be accepted by the Pathways Symposium organizers. Their research project was titled “Identifying Novel Regulators of Mitochondrial Copper Homeostasis.” Griffin said, “The research for this project was completed in Dr. Vishal Gohil’s laboratory in Biochemistry and Biophysics during the summer of 2013, and dealt with using the yeast model system Saccharomyces cerevisiae to investigate mitochondrial proteins for their possible participation in coordinating the delivery of copper ions to cytochrome c oxidase, an enzyme essential component of the mitochondrial respiratory chain responsible for generating cellular energy via respiration.”

002At the Pathways Symposium Griffin and McBroom presented their poster and spent time observing presentations by other students and touring the Texas A&M University Kingsville campus, including the Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy. Griffin said his favorite part of the symposium was “getting the opportunity to present the research [they] had spent hours performing to other members of the scientific and academic community and watch[ing] them become excited about the results….” He said, “The communication of science is truly a joy.”

Returning from Pathways, Griffin realized the importance of personal interest and immersion in one’s research. He said this immersion allowed research partners to become knowledgeable of the subject and to more effectively present their results. Because of this were Griffin and McBroom able to field difficult and unexpected questions from the judges and observers.

Griffin said that if he could give some advice to students participating in research he would share with them the words of his mentor, Dr. Gohil: “Do good science, and the rest will follow.” Griffin said, “Often I am very excited to apply for an exciting opportunity to showcase my research, and Dr. Gohil will remind me I still have several aspects of a project to complete before I can put together a full story.” He hopes that students involved in research will take full advantage of the opportunity and the satisfaction it brings.

Griffin thanked the Gohil Lab for facilitating this research project, Honors and Undergraduate for informing him of this opportunity, as well as the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies for financing the trip. HUR commends both Aaron Griffin and Connor McBroom for their successes in research and at the Pathways Symposium in Kingsville!


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