Summer Undergraduate Research Fair

Aug 5, 2021

UMD Students Present Undergraduate Research Projects

The University of Minnesota Duluth’s (UMD) Biology Undergraduate Research in Science and Technology program (BURST) and Chemistry and Biochemistry Department Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) will be showcasing student research projects at the 2021 BURST and SURP poster fair in the UMD Swenson Science Building Atrium on Friday, August 6, 2021 from 2 - 3:30 pm.

Eight students participated in BURST and twelve students participated in SURP over the summer. Each project highlights the student’s involvement in campus undergraduate research.

While many University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) students take a break during the summer, these students are taking their academic career to a whole new level. Students from both BURST and SURP programs spend 40+ hours a week for 10 weeks investigating a chosen topic. They also attend professional development events and other activities.

The BURST and SURP programs provide a rare opportunity for undergraduates to experience the research side of academia, normally reserved for faculty, graduate students, doctoral, and post-doc students. The undergraduates are supervised by faculty members in the biology, chemistry and biochemistry, pharmacy, and/or biomedical sciences fields.

The BURST and SURP programs receive financial support from the Swenson Family Foundation, and faculty research grants. In addition, the SURP program receives financial support from the UMD Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, The Robert M. and Kathleen M. Carlson Scholarship Program, MN Drive, U of M Grant-in-Aid, National Science Foundation, The National Institute of Health and the Minnesota SeaGrant.

The Swensons’ summer support had an immense impact on our students, faculty, department, and college. The Swenson Family Foundation, founded by Jim and Susan Swenson, began supporting students in the SURP program in the summer of 1994, with the criterion that these students be from the University of Minnesota Duluth. This relationship has continued through 2021.

BURST is intended to give students interested in a research career the opportunity to delve deep into the process of scientific analysis.

SURP gives UMD undergraduate students the chance to partner with a member of the chemistry graduate faculty in analytical, biochemistry, biogeochemistry, bioinorganic, biophysical, computational, inorganic, organic, physical chemistry, and materials science research.

Matt Wittmer, a senior majoring in chemistry with a minor in material science and engineering, is working in Dr. Venkatram Mereddy lab. Their work centers on the chemotherapy approach to inhibit cancer growth.

“Working in Dr. Mereddy’s lab has been a wonderful experience,” Wittmer says. “My SURP research project focuses on the synthesis and exploration of Itraconazole- Quinoline Analogues as potential therapeutic agents. Wittmer says he has learned a lot over the summer. “I have gained many skills, such as analytical thinking, problem solving, and teamwork, that I will be able to carry on throughout my life.”

About the BURST program

About the SURP program

Banner Photo (above): Matt Wittmer, a senior majoring in chemistry with a minor in material science and engineering. Photo credit: UMD student Maija Johnson.