NCSSM was well-represented at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minoritized Scientists (ABRCMS) ePoster Spring Symposium for Emerging Scientists.


Durham and Morganton students present at virtual symposium

Earlier this spring, 12 students drawn from a national pool of high school, community college, and first-year undergraduate students were invited to deliver oral presentations on their work during the virtual Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minoritized Scientists (ABRCMS) ePoster Spring Symposium for Emerging Scientists. Two of those 12 – seniors Chisom Duru and Onur Tercioglu – were from NCSSM.

Chisom, who just graduated as part of NCSSM-Morganton’s inaugural class, was born with three holes in her heart. Though the condition long ago resolved itself, the experience is still influencing her life today as the research she presented at ABRCMS developed out of her interest in tissue regeneration. Her research, titled “Using Bromelain Application to Inhibit the Spread of the Tobacco Mosaic Virus and Promote Tissue Regeneration in Red Bell Pepper Plants,” originated in the Research in Biology program at NCSSM-Morganton and focuses on newer methods of handling plant disease using enzymatic approaches.

Chisom in a lab at NCSSM-Morganton (photo credit: Chisom Duru)

“I am truly grateful to all the Science Faculty, my Research Mentor Mrs. [Jennifer] Williams, the Research in Biology Program, the Summer Research and Innovation Program, and NCSSM-Morganton as a whole for offering me this opportunity and facilitating my research,” Chisom shared with administration at NCSSM-Morganton after the symposium had ended. “It has been a life-changing experience and something I definitely plan to incorporate into my future.”

Onur, who just graduated from NCSSM-Durham, readily accepted his invitation to speak as well. 

“I always love presenting my research,” he says. “It’s just so fun to let people know what I’ve done, and so I’ve presented at every symposium that has been offered to me.”

Onur by his workstation in one of NCSSM-Durham’s chemistry labs. (photo submitted by Onur Tercioglu)

While participating in NCSSM’s Research in Chemistry program under the guidance of chemistry instructor Tim Anglin, Onur became fascinated with the literature on CO₂ electroreduction. It’s a process that uses a catalyst to electrochemically reduce carbon dioxide – a greenhouse gas contributing to global warming – into less damaging chemicals. But it’s expensive to do. Onur’s research, the abstract of which is titled “Facile Preparation of a Cost Effective Bi Doped SnO2 Catalyst for the CO2 Electroreduction Reaction,” focuses on finding a simpler and cheaper catalyst that achieves the same results.

“I’m a big environmentalist,” Onur says. “I love trying to find solutions to climate change and so I’m really happy that I was able to tell people about my research.”

Five other students from NCSSM-Durham were selected to share their research through poster presentations. Those students are: Amy Okonkwo, Ella Ovwigho, Grace McNamara, Hari Manchi, and Teresa Fang.