posted April 20, 2010

Julia Becker of Glenview, Ill., Honored on Capitol Hill for Research

Hope College junior Julia Becker of Glenview, Ill., was one of only 75 undergraduates nationwide honored during the annual "Posters on the Hill" reception organized by the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) on Tuesday, April 13, in Washington, D.C.

The event was held on Capitol Hill in the Rayburn House Office Building.  Each student presented his or her research, displayed on posters, to the members of Congress, congressional staff members, federal government officials and others in attendance.

Becker was recognized for her project "Resveratrol Amelioartes Brain Damage Induced by Surgical Cannulae:  Potential for Treatment of Parkinson's Disease."  The study found that Resveratrol (RESV) limited neuronal damage in the brain.  An implication of the research is that RESV might be able to limit the cellular damage that is a side effect of the electrodes used in deep brain stimulation to help limit the symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

During the reception, Becker was also invited to co-present a special CUR award to U.S. Representative Vernon Ehlers of Grand Rapids, who is retiring at the end of his term.  CUR recognized Ehlers and Dr. Arden Bement, who is stepping down as director of the National Science Foundation, as Honorary CUR Fellows, cited for their staunch commitment to undergraduate research and science, technology, engineering and mathematics education.  Ehlers had spoken at Hope less than two weeks earlier, presenting the address "The Next Hundred Years of Science: It's All About the Students" on Thursday, April 1.

In addition, while in Washington, D.C., Becker and her Hope faculty research mentor, Dr. Gregory Fraley, associate professor of biology, also met with Ehlers, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and staff of Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois.

Becker, who is a biology major, had previously participated in a presentation concerning her research during the college's ninth annual "Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Creative Performance," held in the DeVos Fieldhouse on Friday, April 9.  In addition to Fraley, she was mentored in her research by Dr. German Torres, who is on the faculty of the Department of Neuroscience at New York College of Osteopathic Medicine and was a collaborator on the project.

Becker is the daughter of Daniel and Michele Becker of Glenview, and is a 2007 graduate of GlenbrookSouthHigh School.  Her activities at Hope have also included the Alpha Epsilon Delta pre-medical honorary society; the college's Nu Beta chapter of the Alpha Phi Omega national service fraternity; the student-organized Dance Marathon fund-raiser held on behalf of Helen DeVos Children's Hospital and Relay for Life held on behalf of the American Cancer Society; and the College Chorus.

CUR supports faculty development for high-quality undergraduate student-faculty collaborative research and scholarship.  Nearly 600 institutions and more than 5,000 individuals belong to CUR.  CUR believes that the best way to capture student interest and create enthusiasm for a discipline is through research in close collaboration with faculty members.