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Student Organization Spotlight: American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Drexel Bio Club
The ASBMB executive board attending the 2018 annual Experimental Biology Conference in San Diego, California. Members depicted (from left to right) are Sanjana Venkat, treasurer, Wiktoria Gocal, vice president, Mary Doan, president, and Nina Park, event coordinator.


April 1, 2019

Drexel’s chapter of the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, or simply “bio club,” is open to any student interested in the life sciences. We caught up with the current president of Drexel ASBMB, biological sciences senior Mary Doan, to learn more about the organization.

What is the purpose or mission of the organization?

The purpose of Drexel’s ASBMB student chapter (or “bio club”) is to assist students interested in the life sciences by enriching their in-classroom learning with enjoyable activities and experiential learning.

One of our goals as a member of the ASBMB Undergraduate Affiliate Network is to provide a networking environment for undergraduates interested in biochemistry and biology. We are constantly seeking to extend our outreach to others in both the university and non-university community, and will continue to provide our members with excellent educational resources and social opportunities.

What activities does the organization do throughout the year?

We provide students with the opportunity to advance science through campus and community activities. Members are given the means to display leadership skills and responsibility while also creating connections on campus. We co-host events with other organizations and are involved in the university’s Welcome Week and Activities Unlimited fair, as well as other campus-wide events. Through our events on campus, we encourage and present career paths in the science field. This allows students to explore the diversity of their options in the STEM field. Some of our highlighted events include:

Journal Club
We host our journal club once a month during our biweekly club meetings. This is open to all members, as well as their guests, and through this we are able to keep up-to-date with current science innovations. The topics presented often vary. For instance, one month we talked about dieting trends, such as intermitting fasting and caloric restriction, and the next month we talked about how worms don’t have eyes but can see! Journal club has pushed our members and other students to practice their presentation skills, which will ultimately assist them in their future endeavors.

Biology Week
Biology Week is an annual week of various science-related events we host in April. These events have included an alumni Q&A panel, research speakers, a suture and splits workshop, and nutrition presentations. In the past, students from all majors have attended our events, and we have received a lot of positive feedback.

ASBMB Annual Meeting
We attend the ASBMB annual meeting, which is held in conjunction with the Experimental Biology conference and which many other scientific societies also partake in. The conference is an opportunity to find out how leading scientists are tackling the biggest challenges in the biosciences. Members of our executive board go to attend inspiring lectures and hands-on workshops, connect with peers in the biochemistry and molecular biology community, and gain inspiration to take back to Drexel. In past years, members also have had the chance to present their own research at poster presentations and/or oral talks. Those who have attended the conference have gained more exposure to experimental biology, sharpened presentation skills, and have added to our chapter’s recognition at the national conference.

How has being a member of the organization benefitted you, professionally and/or personally?

Professionally, being a member has allowed me to present my lab research and be recognized by a professional society as an undergraduate. Last year, I presented my first poster at the 2018 annual meeting — not once, but twice. From presenting, I received a conference proceeding that is now published in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Journal. At the 2019 annual meeting in Orlando, I will present my research once again. I will also be recognized as one of 33 exceptional undergraduates across all student chapters who were elected into the ASBMB Honor Society.

Personally, without the support system that this organization has given me throughout my undergraduate career, I would not be in the position to pursue my goals today. Meeting academic goals takes motivation and determination, and a supportive group of friends have been an invaluable asset to my success at Drexel. As President, I try my best to pass on and pay forward the guidance and positive mentorship I have received in the past.

Describe your favorite memory within the organization.

During our sophomore year, my friend Wiki and I attended the suture and splits event during Biology Week. The funny thing was 1) no one at the time really knew how to suture and 2) the projector in the room wasn’t working. So, we all had to use our phones, and replayed the three minute video back every 10 seconds because I was so confused with the suturing method. I can just recall how frustrated Wiki and I were at our bananas. After like 10 minutes, I gave up and ate my ice cream. My banana was so squashed. I knew at that moment I was not fit for pre-med.

Can’t wait to suture again at our 4th annual suture and splits event on April 15!

Who is the organization open to? How can interested students get involved?

Our student organization is open to all students. Here at bio club, we want to create a close-knit organization based on a shared love for science. Interested students can get involved by finding us on Dragonlink. Click on the “request to join” button and someone in the organization will get in touch with more information. The latest news on our student chapter can be found on our Facebook page.