An Engaging Educational Environment
The UAMS Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology sponsors the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program to provide qualified, highly motivated undergraduates majoring in the life or physical sciences, an opportunity to experience laboratory research and learn about a graduate level education. We believe an engaging educational environment is essential for students to appreciate the opportunities in research. Each year, outstanding college sophomores and juniors are chosen from a large pool of applicants. SURF students are matched according to their stated field of interest with seasoned faculty mentors who volunteer to help design and supervise individualized summer projects for their students. Students accepted into the SURF program will receive a stipend of $4,000.00 for the 10-week period.
To enrich the research experience, the SURF program offers:
- Bi-weekly seminars by UAMS faculty. The seminars are held from noon until 1:00 p.m. and lunch is provided.
- A participatory discussion on developing a research career and the role of graduate education in fulfilling that goal.
- Social activities coordinated by the SURF program and departmental graduate students.
- Mid-way through the program, students provide an abstract of their research and brief oral presentation.
- The SURF program concludes with the submission of a written final report formatted like a research manuscript and summary presentation of the research project at the annual Central Arkansas Undergraduate Summer Research Symposium (CAUSRS).
Abstracts are required for a Mid-Summer and Final Symposia for the program to provide students an opportunity to hone their presentation skills and communicate their accomplishments over the summer. Please follow the abstract writing requirements below. Deadline is one week prior to scheduled symposia.
What is Needed for the Abstract
Please provide the title of your project.
The abstract is a succinct outline of your research project. For experimental projects, it (1) presents the principal objective and scope of your project; (2) describes the methodology; (3) summarizes the results; (4) states the principal conclusions. If you have no results yet, give the conclusions or recommendations for continuation of the project or for subsequent work to be done. Use clear, significant words when writing your abstract; eliminate extraneous words. Do not use abbreviations, jargon, or specialized words. Abstracts rarely cite references. Your abstract should stand alone and be intelligible.
The abstract will be printed in the symposia proceedings, so it is essential that all information appear as you want it in print. Be sure to proofread the text! We will print it as you submit it. Remember that careless writing gives the impression of careless work. Be concise! Abstracts should be no longer than 100-200 words. Abstracts that exceed the word limit will be returned to the student for editing and resubmission.
Submitting Your Abstract
We need two copies of your abstract, one submitted by email (very important) to BCMB.firstname.lastname@example.org as a Word attachment, and the other a hard copy, signed by both you and your mentor. Both of these are due one week prior to the oral presentation. If you have special symbols or formatting as part of your abstract, it must be formatted for a PC in Microsoft Word. We do not have the software capability to translate other programs. (This is especially important if you include equations or a graphic – it must be reformatted to Word.) An example of how to format your abstract is shown below and in the SURF Program Info and Schedule packet provided prior to the start of the program.
Employing Protein Chimeras of Cytochrome P450 Reductase to Map Surfaces for Protein-protein Interactions
Grover P Miller, Ph.D.
Cytochrome P450-catalyzed metabolism of endogenous and exogenous (xenobiotic) compounds requires electrons from cytochrome P450 reductase (CPR). We hypothesize that CPR possesses two surfaces of interaction to transfer electrons to proteinaceous acceptors. To identify and characterize these sites, we introduced CPR structural elements into the FMN domain of BMR, a reductase lacking specific sites for protein- protein interactions. One proposed surface involves the beta sheet 4 and alpha helix C and beta sheet 3-alpha helix D (b3aD) loops; the other involves the beta sheet 4 and alpha helix E and beta sheet 5 alpha helix F-beta loops. The ability of these protein chimeras to reduce 2, 6-dichlorophenol- indophenol (DCIP) and cytochrome c was used to differentiate between effects on FMN redox properties and protein-protein interactions, respectively. Activity toward DCIP decreased for chimeric mutant BMR- b3aD, although substitutions affected cytochrome c reduction more significantly. Steady- state analysis of DCIP reduction by BMR-b3aD indicated that kcat values were slightly less than that of CPR, but Km values increased 7-fold relative to CPR and BMR values. Steady-state kinetics for cytochrome c reduction by BMR- b3aD was similar to CPR. Future efforts to dissect the CPR surfaces of interaction include the characterization of chimeras possessing less dramatic loop substitutions.
The SURF Talking Points provides assistance in the preparation of the oral presentation. The purpose of the book is not a speech textbook providing useful information for all types of speaking presentations, rather its focus is for undergraduate students presenting highly technical information to a general audience. For guidelines, download the SURF Talking and Writing Points presentation (PDF).
Final Report Writing Requirements
Below are format guidelines for writing the final report and additional guidelines are in the SURF Program Info and Schedule packet provided prior to the start of the program. Students submit the final report in word or PDF format to both their Mentor and to BCMB.email@example.com.
SURF final reports should be clear, concise, and written for a broad scientific audience. Papers should be written in the style and format of the Journal of Biological Chemistry or other suitable journal your mentor considers appropriate. We suggest that you find a Journal of Biological Chemistry article from your field after which to model your paper.
As in any scientific journal, use clear, significant words when writing your paper, but also use fewer words if you can; a concise paper is always better than a wordy one. Don’t forget it is often useful for authors to have students in other disciplines read their papers to improve clarity. We encourage mentors to edit their students’ papers.
The Final Report Format
- should succinctly and clearly describe the major findings reported in the manuscript
- must not exceed 250 words, nor contain abbreviations or specialized terms
- should be understandable in itself, since it is frequently used as an abstract
- presents the purpose of the studies reported and their relationship to earlier work in the field
- should not be an extensive review of the literature nor, in general, exceed one typed page
- brief but sufficiently complete to permit a qualified reader to repeat the experiments reported
- only truly new procedures should be described in detail
- cite previously published procedures in References
- modifications of previously published procedures not given in detail except when necessary torepeat the work
- presented in figures and tables
- some results not requiring documentation given solely in the text
- extensive discussion not in Results section
- concise (usually less than two typed pages)
- focused on the interpretation of the results rather than a repetition of the Results section
- can merged into one Results and Discussion section to strengthen arguments, if necessary
Figures. Include figures whenever possible to illustrate your points. Carefully choose your image size, font size, line widths, and labels to ensure that your figures are clear. All figures should be accompanied by explanatory captions.
References. Authors are responsible for the accuracy of references. References should be numbered sequentially as they appear in the text and should be listed at the end of the paper. Reference numbers should be in parentheses when cited in the text; consult the Journal of Biological Chemistry for style.
Acknowledgments. Acknowledge your mentor and all other individuals who provided technical assistance, and the individuals, organizations, grants, or contracts from whom you received financial support. Named SURF students should be sure to include the names of their financial sponsors.
Adapted from the Journal of Biological Chemistry Guide to Authors by Grover P. Miller.