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40th biological science research conference brings almost 500 people to PLNU

The 40th West Coast Biological Sciences Undergraduate Research Conference was hosted at PLNU on Saturday. Almost 500 attended from 63 schools across the U.S., according to Dr. Michael McConnell, professor emeritus of biology at PLNU.

“One [of the main purposes] is to give undergraduate researchers in biology and biochemistry an authentic conference-like experience for presenting their work,” McConnell said. “The second major purpose is to bring together faculty to mentor students.”

The conference was founded 1976 at Santa Clara University, according to McConnell, by Dr. William Eisinger. PLNU attended for the first time in 1983 and hosted for the first time in 1992.

“[Saturday] was our ninth time to host it, and we are going to host it again next year,” McConnell said.

Adam Donason, senior biology and psychology double-major with a minor in philosophy, attended the conference as a poster, presenting research he conducted.

“It was a great opportunity for undergraduate researchers to present the research they’ve done either through summer research or through an internship,” Donason said.

More than 200 students presented research either by speaking at seminars, or posting like Donason did.

“Research is hard,” Donason said. “Not because it is scientific and intellectual or difficult mentally, but because you have to show up and go through the nitty-gritty every single day and you have to do the same things over and over until you get enough numbers to have significant data. So it’s hard, especially if you’re wanting your life to be significant. But I like conferences like this because you get to hear the awesome things that are going on in other people’s lives.”