September 24, 2017  

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Four USM Students Win Awards for Biomedical Research in Regional Meeting

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Pictured left to right: Dr. Krishan Arora, Britton Strickland and Dr. Mohamed Elasri. (Submitted photo)

The 2015 Southeast Regional IDeA conference held earlier this month in Biloxi, Miss., showcased biomedical research from more than 250 researchers. Over the course of the three-day conference, 27 students from The University of Southern Mississippi competed against undergraduate and graduate students across the region to win awards for their biomedical research.

During the awards presentation, four of those students walked away victoriously with awards totaling more than $1,700 for their oral and poster presentations.

Justin Batte, Mosharrof Mondal, Partha Sengupta and Britton Strickland were presented awards from Dr. Krishan Arora, Program Director for the Center for Research Capacity Building in the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.

“I didn’t expect to win. It was a surprise,” said Strickland, junior microbiology major. “I put a lot of work into my research, but so did everyone else. I feel very honored to have won.”

Competitors for these awards represented the seven states that comprise the Southeast Region of the IDeA program: Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Puerto Rico, South Carolina and West Virginia.

As a second-time winner of this award, Batte, graduate student studying biological sciences at USM, knows the benefits of presenting at scientific conferences far exceed the monetary awards.

“Presenting at conferences such as this one allows us to interact with scientists outside of our field and to gain a perspective from a multi-disciplinary view,” said Batte. “This also gives us experience in presenting under a scientific review.”

Research areas at the 2015 Southeast Regional IDeA Meeting included Bioinformatics, Cancer, Cardiovascular Research, Cell Signaling, Genomics, General Biomedical Science, Infectious Disease/Immunology and Neuroscience.

The IDeA (Institutional Development Awards) program is funded by NIH as a way to broaden the geographic distribution of NIH funding for biomedical research. As of today, this program funds 23 states and Puerto Rico in an effort to increase the biomedical research infrastructure in each state.

This year’s meeting was hosted by Mississippi IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) and The University of Southern Mississippi and is also sponsored by The University of Mississippi Medical Center.