UH Undergraduates to Present Research at National Conference

Participation Hones Research Skills, Grooms for Graduate School, Professional Life

Ten University of Houston students representing the social and hard sciences will deliver research presentations when they travel to the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR), April 3-5 on the campus of the University of Kentucky. All the research was conducted in UH labs or in the community. 

The UH Office of Undergraduate Research, housed in the Honors College, and the Office of the Provost are sponsoring the trip.


Experiences such as NCUR are one of many ways undergraduate students are encouraged to participate in research activities.  The experiences are opportunities to form strong mentorships with faculty members and also make a difference in their chosen discipline and field.

Senior biochemistry major Roya Zamani will share the research and data analysis she conducted with psychology professor Carla Sharp.  Zamani examined school connectedness as it relates to bullying behavior in elementary school children.

“Having a one-on-one experience with a research mentor is very valuable, not only in the sense that you are able to get hands-on experience, but you’re able to get it from someone who is an expert in their field,” she said. “They do this research daily. They teach graduate students on a very high level and you’re getting this as an undergraduate.”

Participating in undergraduate research also grooms students for graduate work and professional life. Josue Navarro is a senior majoring in civil engineering.  He also is interning at a Houston structural engineering firm.  Navarro conducted research on the use of pin connections in building designs and how they can support the building when subjected to lateral forces such as wind.

“When you’re building on the coast, an open field or the Hill Country, you’ll have significant wind force and will need to design for that,” Navarro said. “The software programs we used for analysis and data collection are things I never would have seen as an undergraduate had it not been for this opportunity. This experience definitely was a big talking point when I went in for a job interview.”

University of Houston students presenting at the NCUR are:

  • Muhammed Ashar Afaq/Chemistry: Synthesizing Substituted Borrerines for Heterodimerization
  • Lindsey Brier/Biochemistry: Differential Toxicity of Cholera Toxin and E. Coli Enterotoxin Explored Using Molecular Dynamics Simulations
  • Aalia Farukhi/Nutrition: Does Context Explain Inabilities to Identify Physical Hunger Among Obese Women
  • Rida Khan/Chemistry: The Effects of Various Components on Bacterial Growth in Artificial Urine
  • Josue Navarro/Engineering-Engineering Technology: Moment-Rotation Behavior of Column Base Plate Connections in Low-Rise Metal Buildings
  • Dema Shobaki/Chemistry: Increasing the Proficiency of Copper-Catalyzed Azide-Alkyne Cycloaddition (CUAAC) Reactions I Live Cells
  • Dariya Tikhomirova, Fatima Syed/Biochemistry: Conversion of Fibroblasts into Cardiac Progenitors
  • Tho Tran/Chemistry: Conjugate Addition of Vinylogous Esters to Boronic Acids
  • Roya Zamani/Psychology: The Relation Between Bullying and School Connectedness Taking into Account the Multi-Component Nature of Bullying

To view a description of the students’ research projects, visit: https://www.cur.org/ncur_2014/account/?search=true

For more information on the Office of Undergraduate Research, visit http://www.uh.edu/honors/undergraduate-research/index.ph