From October 31th to November 2nd, Hostos and John Jay undergraduate STEM students had the opportunity to present their research at the Society of Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics & Native Americans (SACNAS) 2019 National Diversity in STEM Conference in Hawaii, under the mentorship of Hostos Professor Yoel Rodríguez and John Jay Professor Lissette Delgado-Cruzata.
Last year, Professors Rodríguez and Delgado-Cruzata teamed up to embark on a collaborative research project with the aim of enhancing undergraduate research skills, identity, and belonging in STEM through journal club meetings at Hostos and John Jay. Hostos students whose backgrounds are in engineering are trained in computational biophysics by Professor Rodríguez and in cancer biology by Professor Delgado-Cruzata. John Jay students whose backgrounds are in molecular biology are introduced to computational biophysics. 
The 2019 SACNAS National Diversity in STEM Conference research projects:
Hostos Community College
Ibrahima Doukoure and Professor Yoel Rodríguez. Discovery of AF9 YEATS Domain Inhibitors Through Structure- and Ligand-Based Virtual Screening. (In collaboration with Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York)
Abdoul Aziz NignanDariel Arrechaga and Professor Yoel Rodríguez. Development of Small-Molecule Modulators of DREAM to Investigate Neurodegenerative Diseases. (In collaboration with Medicinal Chemistry Institute, CSIC, Madrid, Spain)
Fatimata Kafando, Ndeye Bakhoum, Professor Lissette Delgado-Cruzata, and Professor Yoel Rodríguez.Modulation of microRNAs by Epigallocatechin-3-Gallatein Cancer Biology: A Computational Study. (Presented by John François from John Jay College)
John Jay College
John FrançoisNickolas Almodovar, Milena Rodríguez Alvarez, and Professor Lissette Delgado-Cruzata. Bioinformatic Prediction of Neurophatic Pain Signaling Pathways in Rheumatoid Arthritis after High Throughput miRNA Analysis. (Winner for Best Poster Presentation Life Sciences)
Chante Guy, Tony-Ann Bravo, Professor Yoel Rodríguez and Professor Lissette Delgado-Cruzata. BRCA1 and microRNA Expression after Epigallocatechin-3-Gallate Exposure in Triple Negative Breast Cancer Cells.
Nickolas Almodovar, Milena Rodríguez Alvarez, and Professor Lissette Delgado-Cruzata. Identification of miRNAs associated with rheumatoid arthritis in Hispanic individuals.
“Experiences like these are invaluable for them as underrepresented minority students in the STEM field,” said Professor Rodríguez. “Attending the conference is a reaffirming experience. It shows them they belong in the STEM fields and can become great scientists and engineers. They left the conference encouraged continue their studies and apply to programs at leading research universities. They returned from SACNAS 2019 full of energy and dreaming big, they represented CUNY with honor, and this is invigorating to us as faculty.” 
During the conference, Professor Rodríguez and Delgado-Cruzata co-hosted a panel titled "Cancer Research at the Interception of Chemistry, Physics and Biology.” Additionally, Professor Rodríguez and by Professor Delgado-Cruzata gave the presentations, “Computational Biophysics in Cancer Epigenetics” and “Chemical Compound Disruption of miRNA Biology," respectively. Their presentations highlighted the contributions of the undergraduate student researchers and proposed collaborative research as a conduit opportunity to help bridge transitions of community college students to baccalaureate programs.
Professors Rodríguez and Delgado-Cruzata would like to thank the support provided by Hostos Office of Academic Affairs, Hostos Undergraduate Research Program, CSTEP, CRSP, LSAMP, John Jay College Program for Research Initiatives in Science, Math (PRISM), John Jay College Office of the Advancement of Research, Office of Student Research and Creativity, NIH, NSF HEAT, and PTS3.