Becky Berry, a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Marinette, won a $500 Armando Vega award for best undergraduate poster at the International BMAA Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, October 18 - 21. Berry’s entry outlined her research into cyanobacterial cells and their protective covering, called the exopolysaccharide sheath, and their ability to metabolize or absorb heavy metals. While research continues, cyanobacterial cells potentially could be used to remove harmful metals from water bodies. They also may create heavy concentrations of metals, resulting in potential health hazards related to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, ALS and Parkinson’s. Freshman Keifer Rasner, Wallace, Mich., and UW-Marinette alumni Cody Rasner and Christiana Kmechek also presented at the conference. Renee Richer, assistant professor of biology, has been assisting the students with their cyanotoxin research.