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Duo Lab Trip: Drs. Allison and Hinton Labs attend ASBMB

Image 7. Allison and Hinton Labs Duo pose for a picture at the 2019 ASBMB annual meeting. From row: Andy Mattei’19; Ashley Zhang ’20; Dr. Shantá D. Hinton; Dr. Lizabeth A. Allison; Sri Harshini Malapati ’19; Cyril Anyetei-Anum ’16 (B.S.) and ’18 (Master’s), Ph.D. candidate at UNC-Chapel Hill. Back row: Xiaopeng Sun ’19 and Kirstin Reed ’20).The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) has held annual meetings for 112 years for global scientists—from young investigators (high school and undergraduates) to mid-career and senior researchers—to convene, connect, share, and present their data. Drs. Lizabeth A. Allison and Shantá D. Hinton frequently attend these meetings, with their undergraduate and Master’s researchers. For the April 2019 ASBMB in Orlando, Florida, they joined forces as an “Allison and Hinton Labs Duo” to help defray the cost for each lab, which allowed more undergraduates to attend and present their research; and to showcase the strong program in biochemistry and molecular biology within the Biology department at William & Mary. The undergraduates participated in a poster competition (Image 1) and the general poster sessions (Images 2, 3, and 4).  Students (Allison Lab: Sri Harshini Malapati ’19 and Xiaopeng Sun ’19; and Hinton Lab: Andy Mattei ‘19, Kirstin Reed ‘20 and Ashley Zhang ’20) travelled and roomed together, allowing them to develop friendships that they had not established in the halls of the Integrated Science Center, and providing support during the meeting, which had over 7000 participants.  Duo Lab members were also able to reconnect with Dr. Allison’s previous undergraduate and Master’s student Cyril Anyetei-Anum ’16 (BS) and ’18 (Master’s) (Image 5), who is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill. The undergraduates enjoyed hearing about his perspective as a Ph.D. student and appreciated the mentorship he provided.

A highlight of the meeting for students was a private dinner with one of the awardees and keynote speakers, Dr. Nicholas K. Tonks (Image 6), the former postdoctoral advisor of Dr. Hinton. Dr. Tonks was awarded the prestigious Earl and Thressa Stadtman Distinguished Scientist Award for 31 years of outstanding achievement in basic research, starting with the isolation of the first protein tyrosine phosphatase 31 years ago when Dr. Tonks was a post-doc in Dr. Edmond Fisher’s lab at the University of Washington (Edmond H. Fischer along with his collaborators Edwin G. Krebs and Alfred Gillman were awarded the 1992 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their work on reversible phosphorylation). The Allison and Hinton Labs Duo attended Dr. Tonks’ award ceremony and seminar, and dined with him at an Italian restaurant, where he shared his journey as a scientist, his future aspirations for the protein tyrosine phosphorylation field, and provided lots of advice—full of humorous and inspirational anecdotes—to help them succeed in their careers. These are the transformational experiences that our Biology undergraduate researchers are fortunate to participate in and will cherish for life (Image 7).

Image 5. Dr. Lizabeth A. Allison (left) with Cyril Anyetei-Anum ’16 (B.S.) and ’18 (Master’s) (right). He presented data obtained as a Ph.D. student, during his first lab rotation at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Image 1. Andy Mattei ’19 participates in the ASBMB Undergraduate Research poster competition. Andy (orange shirt) explains his work to a judge.
Image 2. Xiaopeng Sun ’19 participates during an ASBMB poster session, where P.I.s, graduate students, and undergraduates presented their work to the scientific community. Xiaopeng will start a Ph.D. program at Vanderbilt University in August 2019.
Image 3. Ashley Zhang ’20 and Kirstin Reed ‘20 participate during the ASBMB poster session, where P.I.s, graduate students, and undergraduates presented their work to the scientific community. Ashley (left) and Kirstin
Image 4. Science super heroes Sri Harshini Malapati ’19 (left, starting in the M.D. program at UCLA in August 2019) and Xiaopeng Sun ’19 (right) after the ASBMB poster session.
Image 6. Dr. Lizabeth A. Allison hosts Dr. Tonks, the Hinton Lab, and her lab for a congratulatory dinner for Dr. Nickolas K. Tonks, the Earl and Thressa Stadtman Distinguished Scientist Awardee.  Drs. Allison and Hinton sat at the very far end of the table so that students could engage with Dr. Tonks.  Right side: Sri Harshini Malapati