​National Scientists to Attend ASU Research Symposium

News Date
Symposium Graphic


By Hazel Scott/ASU

World-leading scientists from 14 states will attend Alabama State University’s 2023 Virtual Annual Research Frontier Symposium on March 15-16 (Wednesday-Thursday) via Google Meet and Zoom.

“We welcome diversity and believe it is important for research and education in the STEM community,” said Dr. Harvey Hou,  professor of Forensic Science.


This year’s event, which is themed "Diversity in STEM Research,"  will have two speakers.

Plenary Speaker, Dr. Thomas Sakmar, is the Richard M. and Isabel P. Furlaud Professor at Rockefeller University, the world’s leading biomedical research institution located in New York City. Sakmur, who has won a collective 26 Nobel Prizes, will discuss  "Applications of Genetic Code Expansion and Bioorthogonal Chemistry to Study Membrane Proteins."

The Featured Speaker is  Dr. Michelle Foster, Associate Professor of Mathematics/ Associate Dean of the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics/and the Chair of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Sciences. She will share her experience, research achievement, research program, and future plans from her STEM group in hopes to inspire and motivate the next generation of researchers and leaders in the STEM fields.

Approximately 100 participants from 14 states will participate in the two-day symposium, including Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and Alabama.

Inaugural events

A new student session, “Lunch Panel Discussion Session: Graduate Programs," will be held on March 15 and will focus on graduate programs at diverse institutions.

“The session is open to all participants and is anticipated to provide detailed information and the uniqueness of the different graduate programs,” Hou pointed out.

Also, the inaugural "Robert Villafane Award"  will be given to an ASU graduate student for his or her outstanding poster or oral presentation this year.

“The ‘Robert Villafane Award’ is in memory of a professor of Microbiology at ASU, Dr. Robert Villafane,” Hou said. “He was one of the world's leading researchers. To recognize his key contribution, the Symposium Committee has established this award.”

Dr. Villafane, who passed away in Montgomery in 2022,  served as the Director of the Ph.D. program in Microbiology at ASU and has made significant contributions to promoting careers in STEM fields.

For more information, visit https://sites.google.com/alasu.edu/arfs-2023/home or contact Dr. Harvey Hou at hhou@alasu.edu.