Two University of New Mexico students, Kathrin Spendier and Dianne Pater, were recently named as recipients of The Biophysical Society's 2011 Student Travel Award and the Minority Travel Award, respectively, to attend the Society's 55th Annual Meeting at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Md., March 5-9, 2011.

The recipients of the competitive awards were selected based on scientific merit, with priority given to those who will present a paper at the conference. Each awardee receives a travel grant and will be recognized at a reception on Saturday, March 5.

Spendier, a Physics doctoral student who is also a research assistant in the Biology department, is currently researching the "Modeling the Coalescence Kinetics of Cell Surface Receptor Clusters." She was selected for her theoretical work in developing a coalescence theory to investigate the kinetics of cell surface receptor cluster coalescence. The research is important in understanding the mechanism and dynamics of cellular signaling.

Spendier is also a Fellow in the Program in Interdisciplinary Biology and Biomedical Sciences or PIBBS. Spendier is a student member of the Consortium of the Americas for Interdisciplinary Science and the New Mexico Center for Spatiotemporal Modeling of Cell Signaling.

A student at UNM since 2002, she obtained a BS in Physics and Applied Mathematics, and began her graduate studies in the Physics Department in 2007. A former student-athlete, Spendier was a member of the UNM ski team from 2002-06 and was a member of the team that won UNM's only NCAA national team championship in 2004.

Pater, a fourth-year student in the Biology Department, was one of 12 students named as the recipient of the The Biophysical Society's 2011 Minority Travel Award. Minority Travel Awards are meant to encourage participation at the Biophysical Society Annual Meeting by minority students currently studying biophysics. Her current research is focusing on the "Photorespiratory and Repiratory Carbon Isotope Fractionation in Leaves."

Founded in 1956, The Biophysical Society is a professional, scientific society established to encourage development and dissemination of knowledge in biophysics. The Biophysical Society's Annual Meeting is the world's largest meeting of biophysicists with more than 6,000 attendees expected with more than 3,700 scientific abstracts already submitted for presentation at this event.

For more information visit: The Biophysical Society.

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