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Scholar Presentations the Highlight of Atlanta Spring Luncheon

Posted on Tuesday, June 9, 2015

ARCS Foundation Atlanta Chapter held its annual meeting and luncheon on May 13 at the Piedmont Driving Club. The traditional close to the year began with Chapter President, Jane Dolinger, congratulating the 2014-2015 Board members on a job well done: “Each committee report illustrates once again how dynamic, productive, and successful our Chapter is at building support for outstanding scholars in science and technology.” The highlight of the event consisted of brief presentations by four of Atlanta Chapter’s current scholars, each representing a different academic partner.

Jessica Knight of Emory University, talked about her research on the long-term effects of congenital heart disease. Through the use of questionnaires with 600 families, she will track the effects of congenital heart disease on academic performance, behavior, quality of life, and self-esteem in children now 12-17 years old. To obtain a control group, parents will also fill out questionnaires about a healthy sibling of the affected child. Jessica has used her ARCS Foundation award to fund this study, which, in turn, has opened the door for additional grants.

Temi Olubanjo, a fourth year electrical engineering student at Georgia
Tech, reported on her work toward developing of a piece of “wearable technology,” a
necklace with sensors that record the actions of chewing and swallowing. It is hoped that this device will be able to estimate the amount and texture of food being consumed to assist in reaching a healthy balance between energy intake and expenditure.

Steven Summers, a chemistry major who graduates from Morehouse College this year, described a summer research project which focused on a peptide hormone known to regulate body weight and appetite, and play a role in the regulation of autonomic physiological activities that control blood pressure.

Finally, Farah Samli, a first year ARCS scholar studying infectious disease at the University of Georgia, has focused her research on vaccines. She and her colleagues combine vaccines with an inert peptide called vacSIM. After injection, vacSIM forms a porous matrix around the vaccine, which allows the vaccine to egress slowly over time and generate a better immune response. To lean more, please view Farah’s TEDxUGA talk.