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Undergraduate researchers make presentations based on summer interships with FAZD Center

Geraldine Vargas Cartagena (left) and Lilliana Muñoz Laboy, undergraduate researchers from the University of Puerto Rico-Ponce, interned in the laboratory of FAZD Center principal investigator Blanca Lupiani.

Three undergraduate researchers from the University of Puerto Rico-Ponce presented their work to an audience of researchers and educators at FAZD Center on Aug. 3.

The three students are part of the Department of Homeland Security summer research  internship program. The FAZD Center has participated in the program for four consecutive years.

Two students, Lilliana Y. Munoz Laboy and Geraldine Vargas Cartagena worked in the laboratory of FAZD Center principal investigator Blanca Lupiani, an associate professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Texas A&M University.

The third student, Rosangelis Perez Garcia, interned in the laboratory of Suresh Pillai, a professor of microbiology at Texas A&M.

Muñoz Laboy’s presentation focused on “Cloning of the Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia Virus (VHSV) P gene in an Eukaryotic Expression Vector.”

Vargas Cartagena’s presentation examined “Cloning of the NV gene of Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia Virus (VHSV) in an eukaryotic expression plasmid.”

Perez Garcia’s presentation described her experiences working in Pillai’s laboratory.

Muñoz Laboy said her internship with Lupiani surpassed her expectations. She particularly appreciated being assigned a project to complete on her own with Lupiani’s guidance.

“Overall, this experience was unforgettable, one that I am always going to remember,” she said. “If I ever get the opportunity to come back here, I would do it again.”

Vargas Cartagena said the internship opened her eyes to new opportunities.

“I can do anything I want to if I work hard and never give up,” she said.  ” I have grown as a person and also as a professional.”

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