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A Passion for Research

Upstate NY  Junior Science and Humanities Symposium Brings 600 Young Scholars to UAlbany

Research students and teachers from more than 40 schools across the state will be at the University for the Upstate New York Junior Science and Humanities Symposium Tuesday and Wednesday. (Courtesy photos from last year's Symposium)
ALBANY, N.Y. (March 6, 2017) – More than 600 science research students and teachers from approximately 41 schools across New York State will meet at the 32nd annual Upstate New York Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (Upstate NY JSHS), Tuesday and Wednesday, March 7 and 8, 2017, at the Campus Center. The prestigious event allows students to present original research in a symposium-style format.

The Symposium features students as speakers and poster presenters. 

The students presenting at the Upstate NY JSHS are finalists from two regional symposia: one in the Capital District at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School and one in Westchester County at John Jay High School. The program has inspired hundreds of students to present their papers at the regional symposia.

The Upstate NY JSHS is co-directed by Donald Orokos, professor of Biology and associate director of UAlbany’s Forensic Biology Program, and Tim Lance, a UAlbany distinguished service professor emeritus and president of the New York State Education and Research Network.

The keynote address will be given by Melinda Larsen, associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University. Larson’s core research interests are in understanding the molecular mechanisms driving salivary gland organ formation and in applying these mechanisms to stimulate salivary gland regeneration in therapeutic approaches.

Her research is funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research. Over the past 10 years, she has supervised 14 graduate and 24 undergraduate students working on these important projects. She is the author of more than 50 research publications and has received numerous awards, including the President’s Excellence in Research Award from UAlbany, and the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship by the state University of New York system in 2016.

Larsen will give her address, “Salivary Gland Morphogenesis and Regeneration,” at the Symposium’s awards dinner Tuesday in the Ballroom of the University’s Campus Center.

The dinner follows a full day’s schedule of presentations by students as speakers and poster presenters. The students’ research projects will be judged by scientists and industry experts, including representatives from UAlbany and SUNY Polytechnic Institute. Student finalists from five categories of science will be announced during the awards dinner; they will compete for top honors before another panel of judges on Wednesday.

The University at Albany, the Academy of Applied Science, the U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force, the American Chemical Society, and University Auxiliary Services at Albany sponsor the Upstate NY JSHS. The Upstate NY JSHS also receives support from corporate and organization sponsors including Albany Molecular Research, Inc., Bechtel Marine Propulsion Corporation, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc., Capital District Physicians Health Plan, Inc., Price Chopper’s Golub Foundation, New York State United Teachers, Edmund Optics, and Coca-Cola Refreshments.

The top students will move on to present their research at the 55th National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium, which takes place April 26– 30, 2017, in San Diego, California. The top two regional delegates are invited to compete for military sponsored scholarships by presenting their research in oral sessions held on Friday, April 28. All other regional delegates are invited to present their research in poster sessions held on Thursday, April 27.

For more information on the Upstate NY JSHS, visit

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