M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust


2015 John Van Zytveld Awards and Murdock Poster Prizes

At each annual MCSR conference, students giving oral presentations compete for two awards: The John VanZytveld Physical sciences Award and The John VanZytveld Life sciences Award. The awards consist of a ribbon, a cash prize for the students and their academic departments, as well as a gift for their faculty research advisors. The criteria used by judges of faculty and students in selecting the awardees are as follows:

  • Knowledge of material (understanding the background, research question, hypothesis, data collection and analysis, and limitation of the research)
  • Creativity of the project
  • Effective communication (clarity – slides and verbal presentation; organization; pace; answering questions)
  • Level of preparation
  • Ability to keep me interested

These awards are made in recognition of Dr. John Van Zytveld, a longtime Senior Program Director at the Murdock Trust and a champion for undergraduate research and science education in the region.

John Van Zytveld Award In The Physical Sciences:
Kristian Barajas
Faculty mentor: Dr. Richard Watkins
Understanding Combination Modes in Multimode Variable Stars
Willamette University

John Van Zytveld Award In The Life Sciences:
Alex Hoffmann
Faculty mentor: Dr. Aaron Putzke
Dual Roles of Fer Kinase are Required for Proper Hematopoiesis and Vascular Endothelium Organization During Zebrafish Development
Whitworth University

Murdock Poster Prizes:
Students presenting their research in a poster format are also recognized at each conference. One Murdock Poster Prize is presented to a poster in each research field, and it consists of a ribbon, a cash award and a gift for the faculty research advisor. The criteria used by faculty judges in selecting the awardees are as follows:

  • Graphics relevance and visual impact
  • Spelling and grammar
  • Informational content
  • Presentation content and research outcomes
  • Presentation delivery
  • Answering questions
  • Overall presentation

Murdock Poster Prize in Ecology/Plant/Birds:
Jefferson Emm

Faculty mentor: Dr. Marco Hatch
Early Life History of Olympia oysters (Ostrea lurida) within Fidalgo Bay, Washington
Northwest Indian College

Jessica Soderquist
Faculty mentor: Dr. Richard L. Ridgway
Dopamine Production and Storage Correlate with Acidic Compartments in Living Cells of the Marine Alga, Ulvaria obscura”
Seattle Pacific University

Murdock Poster Prize in Developmental Biology/Physiology:
Anna Downing, Chloe Weiinstock, Gemma Wallace
Faculty mentor: Dr. Paul Yancey
Life Under Pressure: Potential Pressure Counteractants in Amphipods in the Kermadec and Mariana Trenches”
Whitman College

Murdock Poster Prize in Molecular Biology/Cell Biology:
Lael Papenfuse
Faculty mentor: Dr. Hannah M. McFarland, Dr. Kimberly Dodge-Kafka, and Dr. John M. Schmitt
AKAP7 and Calcineurin Control CaM Kinases and Cell Growth”
George Fox University

Nathan Hitchman, Peter Hogg
Faculty mentor: Dr. Eve Stringham
Analysis of the role of the actin cytoskeleton regulator unc-53/Nav2 in endosomal trafficking”
Trinity Western University

Murdock Poster Prize in Neuroscience/Psychology/Exercise Science:
Hannah Baumgartner, Eliotte Garling, Lia Zallar
Faculty mentor: Dr. Paul Currie
Brain-Cannula Mapping Investigations of Acyl Ghrelin in Metabolic, Limbic, and Reward Signaling”
Reed College

Murdock Poster Prize in Biochemistry:
Chance M. Brock
Faculty mentor: Dr. Tina T. Saxowsky,
Exploring mutational strand bias in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae to implicate retromutagenesis as a pathway for adaptive mutagenesis”
Pacific Lutheran University

Murdock Poster Prize in Organic Chemistry:
Trevor Burgess, Benson Jelier
Faculty mentor: Dr. Chadron Friesen
Investigation of Synthetic Methods for the Preparation of Krytox(R) Perfluoroisopropylene Ether (KPIPE)”
Trinity Western University

Murdock Poster Prize in Analytical/Inorganic/Physical/Physical Organic/Computational Chemistry:
Colin H. Peterson
Faculty mentor: Dr. Dean A. Waldow
Ionic Conductivity of Novel poly(ethylene oxide)-like Brush Homopolymers as Solid Electrolyte Supports for Lithium Ion Batteries”
Pacific Lutheran University

Lydia Rush, Ismael Rodrigeuz-Perez, Kyle S. Stumetz, Jason Nadeau
Faculty mentor: Dr. Matthew Cremeens
Non-statistical dynamics in combustion, atmospheric and stellar reactions?”
Gonzaga University

Murdock Poster Prize in Environmental Science/Geology:
Calli VanderWilde, Brooke A. Holmes
Faculty mentor: Dr. Ted C. Eckmann
Performance of a Vegetated Roof with Xeric Species in Portland, OR”
University of Portland

Murdock Poster Prize in Microbiology:
Derrick Nguyen, Ben Weeder (Pacific University), and Eric Layton (North Powder Charter School)
Faculty mentor: Dr. Gyorgyi Nyerges
Quantitative analyisis of antibiotic resistance genes in cattle manure and ranch soil”
Pacific University

Murdock Poster Prize in Physics:
Ben Whitenack, Aojie Zheng
Faculty mentor: Dr. Shanon O’Leary
Understanding Laser Fluctuations for Atomic Magnetometry”
Lewis and Clark College

2015 Neal Thorpe Memorial Lecture

James M. Olson, MD, PhD Full Member, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center 
Title: “From Scorpions to Sea-Slugs: Creating Effective New Drugs from Blueprints in Nature

Biographical Sketch
Dr. Olson cares for children and young adults with brain cancer and led a 32-person research laboratory that focuses on translational brain tumor research. He founded two biotechnology companies based on inventions and research conducted by his team. His laboratory has conducted over 40 full-scale pre-clinical drug efficacy studies in clinically relevant mouse models and has generated 26 mouse models of brain cancer. He has translated laboratory findings into four national human clinical trials, of which he is the chair of a Phase III study and co-Chair of a Phase II study and an Infant Brain Tumor Trial. His lab developed a technology platform that enables multiplexed in vivo analyses of tumor pathway perturbation by RNAi or drugs. This is being commercialized by Presage Biosciences and is being used by several of the leading pharmaceutical companies for oncology pipeline prioritization. His team also invented Tumor Paint, which following IV administration, causes cancer cells to light up with near infrared fluorescent signal to aid surgeons in achieving complete surgical resections for patients with cancer. This is being advanced to the FDA and commercialized by Blaze Bioscience: The Tumor Paint Company. Dr. Olson earned a Ph.D. in Pharmacology and an MD at the University of Michigan and he completed Pediatrics and Pediatric Oncology training at the University of Washington (UW). He is currently on faculty at the UW, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Graduate School & Vendor Exhibition Participants

Boise State UniversityBruker AXS
Montana State University
Oregon Health & Science University
Oregon State University
Portland State University
University of Montana
University of Oregon
Washington State University
Western Washington University

Browse through some pictures from the 2015 Murdock College Science Research Conference (provided with permission by Willamette University).

Read the program from the 2015 Murdock College Science Research Conference

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