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BYU student biologists sweep competitions at international meeting

Five Brigham Young University students recently earned honors at the annual Society of Nematologists meeting in Hawaii.

Based on his submitted abstract, doctoral candidate Scott Peat was awarded a travel grant, which paid for his trip expenses to the meeting. He also won the award for the best student paper presentation.

The other four students, all undergraduates, also performed well in the competitions. TJ Bliss, who took honors in the best poster competition, and fellow undergraduates Adler Dillman, Dana Blackburn and Chris Bailey surprised those at the conference who assumed by the quality of their work that they were graduate students.

“Typically, undergraduates don’t do the quality of research required to be competitive at these conferences,” said Byron Adams, an assistant professor in micro- and molecular biology who accompanied the students. “They don’t do ‘big boy’ science quality, but ‘Boy Scout’ science quality. But no one knew these students were undergraduates based on their work.”

Adams said the conference was a success not only in the quality of science produced, but also in the future opportunities presented to the students.

“They got accosted by faculty with opportunities for when they’re done with their undergraduate degrees,” he said. “They’re really blue-chip recruits.”

The Society of Nematologists is an international nonprofit organization designed to advance the science of nematology, or the scientific study of nematode worms.

For more information, contact Byron Adams at (801) 422-3132.

Writer: Elizabeth Kasper

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