Undergrads compete for American Physiological Society Bruce awards at Experimental Biology

BETHESDA, MD (April, 2006) Think undergraduate competition, and the NCAA "March Madness" basketball tournament, or the football bowl games, pop to mind.

In fact, there are competitions that highlight the academic abilities of undergraduates and spur these students to even greater academic heights. Take the third annual David S. Bruce Undergraduate Research Awards, for instance. These awards, sponsored by The American Physiological Society (APS), recognize excellence in undergraduate research.

The competition this year attracted 29 high-level applicants from all over the world. APS pared down to 12 talented finalists who will present their research at the Experimental Biology 2006 (EB) conference April 1-5 in San Francisco.

Four students will be chosen from among the finalists to receive the Bruce awards, which carry a $500 award. The finalists for the 2006 David S. Bruce award are:

Bates College Kate Russell and Julia Simons
Colorado State University Jon Gonzales
Oberlin College/Vanderbilt University Manasi Bhate
Michigan State University Jennifer Edwards
Radford University Marissa Smith
Tulane University Mary McCarty
University of Calgary Carol Chan
University of Maryland/Tripler Army Medical Center Adrian Feijoo
University of Missouri David Ingram
University of North Carolina at Charlotte Robert Overton
Williams College Gillian Sowden

The final awards will be presented at EB at the end of the Sunday, April 2 undergraduate poster session. To be eligible for a Bruce award, undergraduate students must:

  • be the first author of a research study
  • carry out the bulk of the experiment themselves
  • submit an abstract of the study for EB
  • submit a letter explaining the study and its significance
  • have an interest in pursuing a career in a physiology, or a related field, including a biomedical career

The finalists were chosen based on their abstracts and letters. At the final competition, students present their research at poster sessions and to APS judges. The judges will consider the

  • clarity of the student's research hypothesis
  • soundness of the experimental design
  • quality and organization of the poster, including graphics
  • coherence and creativity of the presentation
  • uniqueness of the research

The award is named for David S. Bruce, a Wheaton College (Wheaton, IL) physiology professor who was dedicated to encouraging undergraduates to become involved in scientific research and pursue science careers. Bruce attended the Experimental Biology conference each year, usually with a student who presented his or her research during the poster session.

Bruce was active in APS, where he served as chairman of the Teaching Section. He died in 2000 of complications following a kidney transplant.


Experimental Biology 2006, to be held at the Moscone Convention Center, is expected to attract 12,000 scientists and exhibitors. In addition to APS, the scientific societies participating in EB are the American Association of Anatomists, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, American Society for Investigative Pathology, American Society for Nutritional Sciences, American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.

The American Physiological Society was founded in 1887 to foster basic and applied bioscience. The Bethesda, Maryland-based society has more than 10,000 members and publishes 14 peer-reviewed journals containing almost 4,000 articles annually.

APS provides a wide range of research, educational and career support and programming to further the contributions of physiology to understanding the mechanisms of diseased and healthy states. In May 2004, APS received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring.

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Apr 2016
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