image of Beewolf Digger Wasp, the theme for the 2012 Spring Research Festival

Registration Is Open

Registration for poster presenters, exhibitors, and judges is open for the 17th annual Spring Research Festival on May 8 and 9, 2013.

Posters registered by April 19 will receive a listing in the Spring Research Festival program, and will qualify for judging. Late registration for posters is May 3.

All exhibitors must register by April 19.

Check the website for details:

The Fungus–Growing Ant and the Anti-Tumor Link

Each year, the theme of Spring Research Festival is featured from a natural product that is being used in research. This year we are proud to feature the fungus-growing ant, an extraordinary insect with potentially beneficial health implications.

The Fungus-Growing Ant

The fungus-growing ant is a term used to describe the ant species that enters into mutually beneficial (mutualistic) interactions with naturally occurring fungi. A common type of this ant is known as the leaf-cutter ant.

Mutualistic Interactions

Ant-fungus mutualism is a symbiosis seen in certain ant and fungal species, in which ants actively cultivate fungi much like humans farm crops as a food source. In some species, the ants and fungi are dependent on one another for survival. A mutualism with fungi is also observed in some species of termites in Africa.

More About the Festival

The 17th Annual Spring Research Festival is sponsored for the first time by The National Interagency Confederation for Biological Research (NICBR), and will be held at last year's location, on Porter Street behind the gymnasium.

Open to the scientific and local communities, this annual event is designed to demonstrate “the nature of our research, the discoveries we have made, and the challenges we face in the fight against cancer, AIDS and other infectious diseases worldwide,” according to the website.

Symposium and Talks Scheduled for Festival Week

Festival week kicks off on May 6, with a postdoctoral/post-baccalaureate symposium on "Host Response to Disease”. In addition to the opportunity to participate in the symposium, there will have a poster session throughout the day for registered post-doctoral and post-baccalaureate fellows who were not chosen to present.

Awards given for the best presentation include a travel subsidy as well as a certificate of achievement.

Festival Events: May 8 and 9

Posters will be displayed on May 8 and 9, from 10:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. each day. Presenters will be available between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. to meet and discuss their research with judges, colleagues, and special guests.

In addition to the poster presentations, the Commercial Science and Technology Expo will be held from 10:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. each day. The Expo provides an opportunity for hands-on demonstrations of the latest in equipment, services, and technology presented by major national and regional vendors from the biomedical research/biotech industries.

The festival also includes the Health Education and Community Services Exhibition, which features displays from a broad range of national and local health-related organizations as well as safety and scientific exhibits. Information will be available on relevant health topics such as cancer, AIDS, aging, drug and alcohol concerns, mental health issues, fitness, holistic health care, and more.

For a complete schedule and information on events, visit the website: Or contact Julie Hartman, 301-846-7338, or