August 20, 2017  

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Mississippi Undergraduate Students Get Hands-On Research Experience

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More than 60 undergraduate students from across the state participated in the Mississippi INBRE Scholars program this summer. (Submitted photo)

This summer, 61 of the best and brightest undergraduate students from across the state of Mississippi were able to experience hands-on biomedical research through the Mississippi INBRE Scholars program.

The Mississippi INBRE Scholars program is divided into two tracks: research and service. These programs allow students to train under some of the most highly qualified mentors in the state. The Research Scholars program places students into labs to gain experience in biomedical research while the Service Scholars tie their biomedical research to public health practices by serving the Mississippi Gulf Coast and Jackson communities alongside My Brother’s Keeper, Inc.

“The highlight of the Service Scholar internship was community outreach. My Brothers’ Keeper hosted an amplitude of events to promote health awareness that targeted marginalized genders and sexualities,” Service Scholar, Tracey Le from the University of Mississippi said.

“My work in the lab has taught me hard work coupled with patience. It has also taught me to be an analytical thinker and a researcher.” Tougaloo College student, Abednego Nii Adom Commey added.

The summer research experience concluded with the Mississippi INBRE Annual Symposium on July 27 in Jackson, Miss. At this symposium, each student was able to present his or her research-a first for many of the students.

“The students demonstrated ownership of their projects and were clearly proud of the work they’d accomplished,” mentor, Dr. Beth Hussa from Millsaps College stated. “I enjoyed watching the young researchers interact with one another and learn how to present their work in the context of a friendly, supportive audience.”

The symposium keynote speaker was Dr. Rafael Luna from the National Research Mentoring Network. Dr. Luna taught students, their mentors and family members to turn research into a narrative through his method of “Scientific Storytelling.”

“I was quite impressed with the academic partnerships, representation, and ‘buy-in’ from universities across every part of the state of Mississippi.,” Dr. Luna said. “I am confident in the current state and future generation of Mississippi biomedical scientists, since the Mississippi INBRE merges the perfect blend of excellence in biomedical research and training with diversity.”

This was the 14th year that Mississippi INBRE has provided experiences for undergraduate students pursuing biomedical careers to do research and gain experience in presenting their research.

“I am happy to see the continued growth of the annual symposium which allows undergraduate students from all over the state to showcase their work in biomedical research. The training opportunities provided by Mississippi INBRE and our partners throughout the state are making a significant impact on the workforce in the health-related fields,” Mississippi INBRE Director, Dr. Mohamed Elasri said.

Mississippi INBRE, directed by Dr. Mohamed Elasri, associate dean and professor in The University of Southern Mississippi’s College of Science and Technology, is a statewide program that is supported by an award from the National Institutes of General Medical Sciences. Their mission is to enhance the biomedical foundation in Mississippi and to reach out to Mississippians in order to improve health throughout the state.

Mississippi INBRE seeks to engage talented researchers and students in biomedical research projects that will increase the state’s research competitiveness as well as impact the health of citizens of Mississippi.

For more information about Mississippi INBRE, check out their website, msinbre.org.