Students to Present Exciting Summer Research Findings on Sept. 16

August 31, 2016

Quick Facts

bullet point Fifty-eight Winthrop students will present their summer research findings on Sept. 16 at 2 p.m. in Richardson Ballroom. The event is open to the public and area business and industry leaders.
bullet point The students partnered with Winthrop science and math faculty members for the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE).
bullet point Students researched Alzheimer's disease, colon cancer and many other topics.

/uploadedImages/news/Articles/sure1.gif A SURE participant explained her
research to a faculty member at the
2015 poster presentations. /uploadedImages/news/Articles/SamRobinson.gif Samuel Robinson

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA — How did you spend your summer? Relaxing on the beach? Reading a book? Watching the summer blockbusters at the movie theatre?

For 58 Winthrop University students, they spent their summer conducting cutting-edge research on Alzheimer's disease and colon cancer, among many other topics, as part of the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience(SURE). Students will present their research at a Sept. 16 poster presentation that is open to the public and area business and industry leaders.

Now in its 11th year, SURE paired the 58 students with 21 Winthrop science and math faculty mentors to conduct research in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math).

According to Robin Lammi, associate professor of chemistry and director of the Office of Undergraduate Research, "hands-on research takes SURE students' learning far beyond what is covered in their coursework, engaging them as practicing scientists and mathematicians who create new knowledge and discuss and present it to their peers and colleagues. These experiences provide students an excellent springboard to enter the workforce or pursue graduate study in science and math."

Lauren Travis, a chemistry major from Greenville, was one of the 58 students who conducted research this summer. "My SURE experience was spectacular. I am a sophomore this year, and so I never imagined that I would be able to research so soon after beginning my collegiate career. I received an e-mail from Dr. (Takita) Sumter asking if I would be interested in this endeavor - of course I couldn't refuse."

The research of Travis and Sumter focused on "Understanding the Therapeutic Role of EF24 and HMGA1 Proteins in Colon Cancer."

"Dr. Sumter is probably the most brilliant woman I have ever met, and she is a fantastic mentor to me," said Travis, who plans to attend medical school and become a doctor in the United States Army. "Learning what goes on behind the scenes of researching diseases and treatments will ultimately assist me in being a better doctor, as I am a firm believer in being well-rounded in my studies. I am forever grateful to Winthrop and the SURE program, as well as the INBRE grant, for giving an 18-year-old a chance to get in the lab and learn beyond the classroom, an experience I know that I will never forget."

The SURE program also helped prepare Samuel Robinson '14 of Cheraw for work in his field. As a biology major, Robinson partnered with Assistant Professor of Biology Eric Birgbauer and Professor of Biology Julian Smith to study the effects of lysophosphatidic acid on chicken fibroblast cells and the effects of melatonin on microscopic flatworm regeneration, respectively.

"My SURE experience definitely prepared me. I've been successful in the research field, and Winthrop's science programs are very good about encouraging research. It gave me an edge up on others in the workforce," said Robinson, who is a biochemist at Chemring Detection System in Charlotte, North Carolina.

"I've worked in analytical chemistry, toxicology and am now in government research and development in which I'm developing chemical and biological warfare detection systems."

Robinson, who worked four jobs during his time at Winthrop and was raising a family, credited his professors and mentors with his success. "They were instrumental to me, pushed me and helped me all along the way. I've very grateful for my time with SURE."

Learn more about the exciting research of Winthrop's SURE participants during a poster presentation session on Friday, Sept. 16, at 2 p.m. in the Richardson Ballroom. Students will be in attendance to discuss their research at the event which is open to the public.

For more information, please contact Monica Bennett, director of communications, at 803/323-2236 or e-mail

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