Undergrad Going to the Capitol

On April 26, Texas A&M University-Commerce undergraduate student, Sravan Vemuri, will participate in the Texas Undergraduate Research Day at the state capitol in Austin.

Vemuri was chosen by the organizers of A&M-Commerce’s Annual Research Symposium to represent the university at this statewide event. Vemuri and other undergraduate students worked under the mentorship of Dr. Venu Cheriyath, an assistant professor in the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences. The main focus of this group was to identify genes of the immune system that promote cancer. Vemuri’s study identified three cancer promoting genes of the natural-born immune system, which is thought to be part of the first line of defense against cancer. Due to the results of the symposium, A&M-Commerce has been guaranteed one of just sixty spots available at the capitol for students to display their research. The intention of this event is to allow students to demonstrate how they have engaged in research for Texas legislators and the general public. “Transforming Texas Through Undergraduate Research” is this year’s theme, and the program hopes to highlight how the research of undergrads positively impacts Texas and its people.

“The role of the innate immune system in promoting breast cancer has been controversial for the last several years,” said Dr. Cheriyath. “Vemuri’s findings are significant because they narrowed it down to a few genes of the immune system that make breast cancer more aggressive. Results such as these are changing the way we think about the immune system and cancer.”

There are an estimated eighty students from only fifty institutions that were chosen to represent the strides in undergraduate research across the state. The event is coordinated by the Council of Public University Presidents and Chancellors (CPUPC), the Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas, Inc. (ICUT) and the Texas Association of Community Colleges (TACC). Participants and advisors will be given the opportunity to tour the Capitol, attend committee hearings and the daily meeting of the Senate and House of Representatives. This is a prestigious honor, and the university hopes it will encourage other students in their research endeavors.

“I am grateful to my mentor, Dr. Cheriyath, and Texas A&M University – Commerce, for giving me a chance to become a part of the fight against cancer,” says Vemuri. “This was possible only because of the enhanced interaction between the students and faculty in a university like A&M-Commerce.”

For more information about CPUPC or this event visit www.cpupc.org.