The Mid-Atlantic Undergraduate Research Conference

serves as an opportunity for undergraduates and professionals to share their passion for research. We believe in encouraging the collaboration of knowledge in order to facilitate advancement within areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

MAURC 2019 will be held March 23rd and 24th at Virginia Tech 




Event Sponsored By:

Panel 1



Kate Biberdorf, Ph.D.

Lecturer, Department of Chemistry at UT Austin

“At The University of Texas, Dr. Kate Biberdorf is breaking stereotypes and blowing stuff­ up—all in a good pair of heels. Through her theatrical and hands-on approach to teaching, Dr. Biberdorf is breaking the down the image of the stereotypical scientist, while reaching students that might otherwise be intimidated by science. Students’ emotional responses, rather than rote memorization of facts, is key to Biberdorf ’s dynamic approach to her program, as well as science in general. Her exciting and engaging program leaves audiences with a positive, memorable impression of science – all while diminishing the stigma around women in science.”


Daniel Andruczyk

 Daniel Andruczyk, Ph.D.

Researcher, Plasma Physics and Fusion

“Prof. Andruczyk is heading up the HIDRA device at the University of Illinois. Previously he was a Research Engineer at the Princeton Plasma Physics Labs from 2012 – 2014. He currently is an Assistant Research Professor at the Center for Plasma-Material Interactions, a multidisciplinary center at the University of Illinois. Prof. Andruczyk conducts research into plasma edge studies and PFC materials as well as research related to manufacturing in the semiconductor industry. Prof. Andruczyk has previously worked as a post-doc at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics, Greifswald where the W-7X Stellarator is being built. He has extensive expertise in plasma diagnostics including the development and running of diagnostic He beams and has installed two on H-1NF Heliac in Canberra, Australia and the WEGA Stellarator in Greifswald, Germany.”



John S. Iiames, Ph.D.

Research Biologist, NASA & US Environmental Protection Agency

As a research biologist with the National Exposure Research Laboratory, Dr. Iiames specializes in geospatial research with an emphasis on environmental remote sensing. Over the past 17 years, his research has focused on the geospatial analysis of the air-water-land interface at multiple scales (temporal and spatial) for the investigation of environmental indicators linked to environmental condition and human health. Dr. Iiames has assessed land cover and vegetative biomass using multiple remotely sensed data types including multi-spectral optical data, LIDAR, and radar, providing the modeling community with inputs required to support key integrated, multidisciplinary exposure science research.

Dr. Iiames currently serves as a co-lead Principal Investigator for the terrestrial remote sensing component embedded within a multi-agency NASA funded research project investigating cyanobacteria counts in freshwater aquatic systems. Additionally, he is working jointly with EPA researchers in quantifying ammonium flux in both temperate deciduous and coniferous forest ecosystems and to assess wildfire effects on drinking water quality.

Giving the Welcoming Address:




Jim Mahaney, Ph.D.

Associate Dean for Biomedical Affairs and Research at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine — Virginia Campus, Chair of the Biomedical Science Department

 From 1994-2003, Dr. Mahaney established his independent research program at West Virginia State University. This program was designed to elucidate the molecular mechanism of calcium transport regulation in the heart, focusing on age based and disease-based changes in calcium transport and its regulation. He combined the biophysical techniques of fluorescence spectroscopy and electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy with pre-steady state and steady state enzyme kinetics methods. The goal was to correlate specific enzyme dynamic transitions with key steps in calcium transport processes related to cardiac muscle relaxation. After moving his research to Blacksburg in 2003, Dr. Mahaney also set out to create opportunities for increased medical student involvement in research.

Dr. Mahaney is an active member of the Biophysical Society and serves on the Cell Transport and Metabolism grant review group for the National American Heart Association. He also serves as a reviewer for the American Osteopathic Association Research Division. In 2004, he received the VCOM Biomedical Educator Award – Peer Choice, and the VCOM Biomedical Educator Award – Student Choice. In 2009 and again in 2014, Dr. Mahaney received the VCOM Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching from the medical students. In 2012, Dr. Mahaney received the VCOM Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching from the Post-Baccalaureate class.

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