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Miami hosts 14th annual Graduate Research Forum

<p>Year after year, the graduate forum continues to be a high point for the Miami Graduate community.</p>

Year after year, the graduate forum continues to be a high point for the Miami Graduate community.

For a year and a half, Madisen Kimbrel spent her time stressing out bacteria.

As a microbiology Ph.D. candidate, Kimbrel conducted research and studied how bacteria responds to different stress factors. 

“We looked at how these organisms and environments responded to various stress factors,” Kimbrel said. “We found that this stress prevents them from being able to grow and reproduce.”

She presented her findings Nov. 4 at Miami University’s Graduate Research Forum. At Armstrong Student Center’s Fritz Pavilion, 110 total graduate students presented research from months-long projects.

These projects came from four different academic divisions, with 25 different programs being represented. Programs included kinesiology, computer science, chemistry and more. The topics spanned from the study of auto-catalytic biosensors to social anxiety as a factor of binge drinking among university students.

Sam Brown, a graduate student in the biology department, presented his research on the purkinje neurons in the cerebellum. 

“This is the part of your brain that has a lot to do with your coordination,” Brown said. “So when you’re walking up the stairs or tracking a ball to catch it, it does most of that.”

Brown said his goal is to find the parts of the brain that determine how often neurons fire.

The forum was broken into two segments, consisting of poster and oral presentation sessions. A panel of alumni judges voted on the Outstanding Presentation Award winners, which will be announced in the following weeks.

Last year's winners consisted of six presenters, three in the poster category and three in the oral. One of the winning oral presenters was Katherine Stahlhut, a doctoral candidate who presented on “linking plant functional traits to mycorrhizal mutualisms.” 

Stahlhut was awarded a research fellowship with the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program, an organization focused on the scientific research of graduate students, for her work that has continued throughout the course of this year. 

Photo by Grace Axlund | The Miami Student

 110 graduate students presented the research projects they have been working on for months. 

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The event was coordinated by Elise Radina and Amity Noltemeyer, both associate deans of the graduate school. Noltemeyer was incredibly impressed with the presentations put on by the researchers this year. 

“Overall, it was such an exciting and inspiring day,” Noltemeyer said. “I was impressed by the diversity and impact of their research, as well as their skill in explaining it to others outside of their discipline.”

Year after year, the graduate forum continues to be a high point for the Miami Graduate community. Noltemeyer said the event gives students an opportunity to develop as researchers and communicators.

“I am already looking forward to next year,” Noltemeyer said.