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By signing up for our newsletter, you will receive updates on talks, workshops, and research opportunities on Grounds, get unique access to URN events, and become a part of the only multi-school, interdisciplinary research community at UVA.

If you wish to join an URN committee or become an Oculus Editor, look out for our recruitment applications, which go out at the start of every semester.

Feel free to email any questions to uvaurn@gmail.com


URN Officer/Ocululus Editor Applications are OPEN. Apply by 11:59 pm Wednesday, January 30. The application can be accessed here!

Info session: Wednesday, January 23 at 7PM in Minor Hall 125


2019 ACC Meeting of the Minds Conference

The 2019 ACC Meeting of the Minds undergraduate research conference will take place on March 29-31, 2019 at University of Louisville, KY

Students in all majors are encouraged to apply to represent the University of Virginia at this annual Atlantic Coast Conference undergraduate research conference. To be considered to represent U.Va. at the conference, please complete an application here: https://virginia.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_07JqdAa6WieA1Qp by noon on January 25. As part of the application, you will need to upload the following materials in one PDF document:

1. Abstract of 250 words or less (include your project title)

2. Resume

3. Unofficial transcript

The Office of Undergraduate Research will schedule 10 minute presentations with each applicant on January 30 or 31 and then select six students to attend the conference.

For more information on the 2019 conference, please see: https://louisville.edu/provost/ug-research/minds. For more information about the UVa selection process please contact Brian Cullaty at brc7q@virginia.edu.


Research opportunity at Owens Lab (Cardiovascular Research Center)

Gary K. Owens, PhD Director of Cardiovascular Research Center, University of Virginia

Recent Nature Medicine studies from our lab have shown that smooth muscle cells (SMC) play a much greater role in atherosclerotic lesion pathogenesis than generally appreciated. Contrary to dogma, phenotypic changes in these cells can be beneficial or detrimental for plaque stability depending on the nature of these changes. Of relevance, we demonstrated that approximately 1/3 of lesion cells previously identified as macrophages are of SMC, not myeloid origin. However, the functions of these SMC-derived macrophage-like cells are very poorly understood and it is unclear if they are produced under normal or additional pathological conditions. Since atherosclerosis happens well beyond our reproductive ages, we hypothesized these transitions also occur at baseline in normal mice and play a protective role that is likely to be evolutionarily conserved. To test this hypothesis, we performed flow cytometric evaluations of transitions of SMC to a macrophage-like state within various microvascular tissue beds of our Myh11ERT2Cre eYFP SMC-Pericyte (SMC-P) specific lineage tracing mice. Remarkably, we found that 15-20% of eYFP+ cells within the stromovascular fraction of epidydimal and mesenteric fat depots were CD45+ of which >90% were also positive for the macrophage markers CD11b, F4/80, and Lgals3. Of major interest, the percentage of SMC-derived macrophages in pathological fat depots increased about 2-fold upon four-weeks of diet-induced obesity (DIO). Interestingly, these macrophages appear to exhibit an M2-like polarization (anti-inflammatory) in that they were CD206+ but CD86-. Therefore, we hypothesize that SMC-P derived macrophage like cells are a novel source of tissue resident macrophages which play a protective role in regulating the inflammatory and metabolic properties of pathological adipose tissue depots. We have performed single cell RNA sequencing analysis on SMC-P derived macrophages from normal chow diet and obesity diet fed mice. Interestingly, SMC-P derived macrophages cluster together with the regular macrophages in the adipose tissue. We are extending our studies to test the effect of SMC-P Klf4 or IKKB expression to understand the function of SMC-P derived macrophages via metabolic and inflammatory pathways.

  • To get an opportunity to become part of our team, please write up a personal statement (1-2 paragraphs is enough and do not exceed 1 page) and tell us about your career goal, why you are interested in research, what you expect to gain from this experience and what (if any) research experience you have. Please include a resume or a CV if you have one. Email the documents to Gamze Bulut – gbb8b@virginia.edu. We look forward to meeting you!


2019 CVCSN meeting: Call for Symposium Proposals: University of Virginia School of Medicine

April 12 – 13, 2019

Meeting Theme: “From Cells and Circuits to Behavior”.

While we welcome symposium proposals from all areas, we are particularly interested in those that highlight combinations of in vivo imaging and behavior.  Any experimental system (human (e.g., fMRI), mouse, c. elegans) is appropriate, we aim to highlight the convergence of new technology to fundamental questions in neuroscience and the neurobiology of disease.  Two external speakers will give plenary talks on this topic. The meeting will begin on Friday afternoon and continue through a full schedule on Saturday.

CVCSN supports diversity in science:  Please include diversity information pertaining to your submission, the Program Committee will take this information into consideration when prioritizing abstracts for acceptance to the meeting.  Please recognize that diversity takes many forms, in terms of scientific background, race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, professional seniority, home institution, etc.

Chair Information: Symposia organized by trainees are strongly encouraged (i.e., postdoc, resident, grad or undergrad trainees); however, a faculty co-chair should be included.

Speakers: Speakers can be either trainees or faculty.

Format: Organizers have flexibility in arranging speakers within either a 60 min mini-symposium or a 90 min full symposium. Ensure time for speaker transitions and questions.

Suggestion A: Mini-symposium (60 min total) could be a 25 min talk followed by two 12 min talks.

Suggestion B: Full symposium (90 min total) could have an integrative introduction by the chair followed by a 30 minute talk and two 15 minute talks.

Number that will be accepted & selection criteria: It is currently anticipated that three full symposia and two mini-symposia will be accepted. This may shift as the final schedule for the meeting is developed. Symposia will be selected based upon the quality of the science, attention to diversity, and fit with the stated conference theme.

To submit a symposium proposal, please provide the information below and send to mikemc@virginia.edu by January 20, 2019. Please direct any questions to Mike McConnell, the CVCSN President.

Symposium Organizer(s):  

Symposium Title:  

Overview (limit to 250 words or less):

Prioritized list of speakers and affiliations (the number of proposed speakers should be 150% the number of slots given the unavailability of some invitees):

Diversity Statement:


Columbia Undergraduate Science Journal Submissions Due 3/3/2019:

I am the Managing Editor of the Columbia Undergraduate Science Journal of Columbia University and am writing to inform you about an opportunity for your students who have conducted scientific research. We would like to invite them to submit a research paper for publication in our journal for undergraduate students. CUSJ is a highly selective publication that aims to provide undergraduate students with the opportunity to publish scholarly research.

We would greatly appreciate if you could inform your students about this opportunity, as it would allow them to share the research work they have accomplished with a wider audience.

The deadline for submissions to the 2019 issue of our journal is Sunday, March 3, 2019. More information about our journal and submission guidelines can be found on our website: https://cusj.columbia.edu.

Christina Monnen

Managing Editor, Columbia Undergraduate Science Journal


OUR Workshop Schedule Spring 2019