2022 MBIM Undergraduate Research Symposium


The MBIM URS is an excellent opportunity for undergraduate students to share their research findings, develop communication skills, and network with UBC faculty and peers.

The symposium will include 10-minute and 3-minute oral presentations featuring the work of our undergraduate students done in research laboratories (MICB 448/449/Co-op), and some of our experiential learning courses (MICB 406/421/447).

Prizes for the top presentations will be awarded.

Please direct any questions about the symposium to Dr. Evelyn Sun (evelyn.sun@ubc.ca).

Program Package:
Congratulations to all our winners!

10x10 Winners: 1st Derrick Chong, 2nd Vanny Pornsinsiriruk, 3rd Ananya Saraph

3x1 Winners: 1st Tatiana Lau, 1st Ariel Rosen, 2nd Cathy Yan

Register to attend the event Here

Abstract submission open! Submit abstract: Here - Deadline: April 7th, 2022


It is with great pleasure we welcome you to the 2022 Microbiology and Immunology Undergraduate Research Symposium (MBIM URS)! After the success of the last three years, we are delighted to share with you the product of our hard work at the fourth annual MBIM URS. Although an in-person event is not possible again this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we believe a live online event is an excellent way to ensure that students have a chance to showcase their work. In addition to our traditional 10 minute presentation division, this year’s event will feature our inaugural 3-minute thesis presentation format which is something we are greatly looking forward to. The organizing committee has been working diligently to make this year’s event a possibility and we are excited to be able to share this experience with you all.

This symposium would not have been possible without our hardworking undergraduate student organizing committee. The countless hours and hard work that was put in by our amazing student team to make this event happen cannot be overstated and they are fully deserving of all the credit they receive for their fantastic work. We appreciate Dr. David Oliver for his leadership and support in the planning of this event. A special thank you to Dr. Parvin Bolourani for providing guidance and support, Dr. Marcia Graves and Dr. Evelyn Sun for providing insight at meetings, Eric Lee for his IT expertise, and Laryssa Vachon for managing social media accounts and helping with graphic design. Lastly, we would like to thank all of the symposium participants and attendees for supporting us and seizing this opportunity to advance their scientific experience and education.

We hope you enjoy this symposium and continue supporting undergraduate research in future years. We are looking forward to your virtual presentations!

We hope you enjoy this symposium and continue supporting undergraduate research in future years. We are looking forward to your virtual presentations!

Yours sincerely,

Adam Dorner & David Liang
2022 MICB URS Co-chairs

Letter from Dr. Michael Murphy

A message from the Department Head

Welcome to the Undergraduate Research Symposium hosted by the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at UBC. The symposium is a showcase of the range and depth of research performed by undergraduate students both in lab courses and in research labs at UBC.

The presentations will demonstrate the high-quality of science performed by the talented students in our programs. Moreover, this student-led and organized symposium is evidence of student curiosity to learn and desire to communicate their science discoveries with each other and the larger UBC community. This desire to connect and work as a community of researchers continues with the second virtual format undergraduate research symposium. We will celebrate the many research successes of undergraduates in the Department. I look forward to learning about your research projects and meeting you in person in the future.

Michael Murphy, PhD
Professor and Head
Department of Microbiology & Immunology
University of British Columbia


Welcome from the Department Head and Event Chairs


Keynote Talk by Dr. Jennifer Gardy

Clinical Microbiology and Immunology


Investigation of the dietary needs of immune cells: relating food to function for CD8+ memory t cells

Erin Tanaka, Kirsten Ward-Hartstonge, Ramon Klein Geltink


The role of intraoperative vancomycin powder use in reducing postoperative surgical site infections for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis patients

Garshana Rajkumar, Sachini Jayasinghe, Dr. Supriya Singh, Dr. Firoz Miyanji

10:10 AM

N-Myc represses type I IFN signaling in high-grade serous ovarian carcinoma

Monica Alvaro Fuss, Alex Miranda Rodriguez, Brad H. Nelson


Using the eVOLVER automated cell culture platform to investigate phage-host dynamics during changes in osmolality

Eric Lyall, Derrick Chong, Carolina Tropini


Ampicillin treatment suppresses dendritic cell mediated-T cell priming in a microbiota-independent manner

Vanny Pornsinsiriruk, Andrew Sharon, Lisa Osborne

The Microbiome


Differences in organic matter removal treatments do not influence soil microbial diversity in British Columbia managed forests

Juan Camilo Burckhardt, Adam Dorner, Chris Breden, David Liang


Evaluation of the effects of diet on the gut microbiome of captive animals by amplicon sequencing analysis

Yuhsin Chu, Ziwen Ran, Helen Hsiao


Diet potentially drives the differentiation of eating behaviours via alterations to the gut microbiome in infants

Cathy Yan, Helen Zhao, Navika Nayar


Effect of honey consumption on gut microbiome in Hadza hunter-gatherers in Tanzania

Ayah AlAnsari and Nicolas Gauthier


A mechanistic investigation of the impact of gut osmotic stress on bacterial growth

Hans Ghezzi, Katharine Ng, Carolina Tropini


Lunch Break

Talks by 10X Genomics (12:10-12:30PM), iGEM (12:30-12:50PM),

UJEMI (12:50-1:10PM)

Bacterial Adaptation and Pathogenesis


Monitoring changes in internal pH of Burkholderia cenocepacia in response to external pH shifts

Ananya Saraph


Screening regulators for Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacterial biofilm formation

Li Jing Sheaves, Melanie Dostert, Robert Hancock


Co-localization of ParA and ParB in anchoring the linear Streptomyces chromosome to growing hyphael tips

Mona Golmohammadzadeh


The relationship of quorum sensing system and LuxR-homologue SdiA to carbon metabolism in Citrobacter rodentium

Juan Camilo Burckhardt, Jorge Pena-Diaz, Brett Finlay


Exploring the role of small RNAs in host-microbe interactions in enteropathogenic Escherichia coli infection

Hana Zhang, Zakhar Krekhno, Brett Finlay


Discovery and characterization of Inoviridae bacteriophages in gut bacteria

Derrick Chong, Carolina Tropini



Characterization of COVID-19-associated cardiac injury: implications of a multiphasic, multifactorial disease paradigm

Felicia Liu-Fei, Paul Hanson, Bruce McManus


Deep phenotypic profiling of large libraries of ACE2 and SARS-CoV-2 variants

Ryan Hong, Warren Meyers, Kurt Haas

Rapid Fire Talks


The effect of endogenous retrovirus expression on neutrophil activation

Tatiana Lau, Maria Tokuyama


4-Phenylbutyric acid, a chemical chaperone reduces endoplasmic reticulum stress and the expression of inflammatory cytokine, interleukin 8, in CACo-2, colonic adenocarcinoma cell line

Ayda Fathi


Unique molecular identifiers in ChIP-Seq analysis improves resolution of YY1-driven pathways and super-enhancers in HL-60 cell lines

Cathy Yan


Standardizing methods of measurement in the gut microbiota

Sagar Pannu, Katharine M. Ng, Carolina Tropini


Soil abiotic factors are not consistently associated with microbial diversity or organic matter removal intensity in regions of long-term reforestation

Mark Pitblado, Sara Kowalski, Elizabeth Vaz, Alannah Wilson


Sleep problems are not associated with a change in gut microbial composition, richness, and evenness

Ryan Li, Donald Ng, Bachviet Nguyen, Amrit Maniani


Direct enzymatic bioreduction as the optimal bacterial bioremediation technique to detoxify radioactive wastewater associated with nuclear power plant usage

Adam Dorner


Elucidating SARS-COV-2 infection profile using host and viral biomarkers

Aaleigha Chin, Guang Gao, Tirosh Shapira, Andrea Olmstead, François Jean


SARS-CoV-2 lysosomal egress pathway

Ariel Rosen


Closing Remarks and Prizes

Dr. Jennifer Gardy

Dr. Jennifer Gardy joined the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Malaria team as Deputy Director, Surveillance, Data, and Epidemiology in February 2019. Before that, she spent ten years at the BC Centre for Disease Control and the University of British Columbia’s School of Population and Public Health, where she held the Canada Research Chair in Public Health Genomics. Her research focused on the use of genomics as a tool to understand pathogen transmission, and incorporated techniques drawn from genomics, bioinformatics, modelling, information visualization, and the social sciences. In 2018, Jennifer was named one of BC’s Most Influential Women in STEM by BC Business Magazine and was named one of the Government of Canada’s 20 Women of Impact in STEM. In addition to her science work, Jennifer is also an award-winning science communicator, hosting many episodes of science documentary television, including The Nature of Things and Daily Planet, as well as authoring science books for children, including a new book to be released in 2021.

Abstract submission details:

Abstract submission deadline is April 7th, 2021

MBIM URS uses the guidelines for abstract submission to the American Society for Microbiology Annual General Meeting, which is summarized below. Please ask your supervisor or course Instructor for advice if you have questions about writing a scientific abstract.

All abstracts must:

  • be well written and easy to understand (see writing guidelines below);
  • include a title, a list of all authors and author affiliations on the file submitted;
  • have a maximum limit of 350 words (Authors, groups, institutions, and acknowledgement/references are not counted);
  • use 12-point Times New Roman font;
  • be submitted with prior approval of all co-authors before placing their names on an abstract.

Note that abstracts that do not meet the submission requirements will be subject to rejection.

Abstract writing guidelines for original research talks or 3MT (MICB 421/447/448/449/co-op):

The abstract should provide a succinct summary of your research. The body of the abstract should include the following features:

  • The context - Begin with describing the broad topic of your research, what is known in the field and the motivation of the study based on a need, or gap in the field. 
  • The objective - identify the purpose of the study, which may be in the form of a central research question or hypothesis.
  • The approach - include the main methodological approach used to answer the research question.
  • The results - summarize the main findings. Try to be as transparent and specific as possible in describing your results. 
  • The impact - include a statement that summarizes the outcome and indicates the importance of your findings in the context of the field.

This American Society for Microbiology video provides useful guidance on writing a scientific abstract:

This year the symposium will be offering two presentation formats. For detailed guidelines on each format including judging rubrics, please see here

10x10 Presentation

  • Presenters will be given 10 minutes to present a maximum of 10 slides followed by a 2-5 minute question and answer period.
  • 10x10 presentations will be expected to transparently report a study and ought to include (see graphic below):
    • an introduction,
    • experimental design/methodology,
    • results,
    • and discussion.
  • Other key components of scientific rigor that should be included, if applicable, are sample size, randomization, blinding, and replication.
Responsive image

3x1 Presentation

  • Presenters will be given 3 minutes to present 1 slide with no question period.
  • 3x1 presentations may include full research projects, proposals, or working thesis.
Responsive image
Undergraduate Planning Committee
  • David Liang (Co-Chair)
  • Adam Dorner (Co-Chair)
  • Mahta Amanian (Senior Advising Chair)
  • Wesley Hunt (Senior Advising Chair)
  • Ariel Rosen
  • Ashley Tong
  • Bryan Lee
  • Cathy Yan
  • Emilia Chen
  • Enoch Yau
  • Gary Yen
  • Helen Hsiao
  • Lena Xiong
  • Patricia Balmes
  • Quentin Michalchuk
Faculty & Staff
  • David Oliver, PhD (Co-chair) - Associate Professor of Teaching
  • Evelyn Sun, PhD (Co-chair)- Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow
  • Francois Jean, PhD - Associate Professor
  • Parvin Bolourani, PhD - Outreach, Alumni Engagement, Postdoctoral Fellows & Project Coordinator
  • Michael Murphy, PhD - Microbiology & Immunology Department Head
  • Marcia Graves, PhD - Assistant Professor of Teaching
  • Craig Kornak - Undergraduate Administrative Assistant
  • Eric Lee - IT Support & Web Design
  • Laryssa Vachon - Social Media Coordinator
  • Zakhar Krekhno – Graduate Student Coordinator

The Undergraduate Journal of Experimental Microbiology and Immunology (UJEMI)