October 22, 2014  

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Mississippi Represented for Biomedical Research at National Conference

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Several students from Mississippi recently attended the National IDeA Symposium for Biomedical Research Excellence (NISBRE) meeting in Washington, D.C. (Submitted photo)

Presenting research to a room full of professors and researchers can be daunting for students, but recently several students from Mississippi stepped up to the task and represented their state in front of an audience of seasoned biomedical researchers from across the nation.

This gathering of researchers is known as the National IDeA Symposium for Biomedical Research Excellence (NISBRE), a biennial meeting that showcases the scientific research accomplishments of the Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program. The IDeA program encourages scientific development throughout the nation. This year’s conference was held June 16-18 in Washington, D.C.

“The NISBRE meeting offers student participants a wealth of opportunities to present their research, learn about the research of others, network, and form collaborations,” said W. Fred Taylor, Ph.D., who directs the IDeA program at NIH’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences. “It’s an important experience in the process of preparing for a research career. We are delighted at the number of students who attended this year’s meeting, including many from Mississippi institutions.”

At this year’s NISBRE conference, 65 students and faculty from Mississippi’s IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence gathered in the nation’s capital with more than 400 students and faculty from across the nation to not only present their research, but to also exchange ideas for the future.

The director of Mississippi INBRE, Mohamed Elasri Ph.D., was excited to see the opportunities that this four-day conference provided students and faculty and played a role in encouraging participation in the event. He was proud to look around and see Mississippi represented for the research that is being done in the state.

“I was particularly proud of our students and faculty who got the opportunity to present research findings to their peers and to the National Institute of Health staff. Our students also had the opportunity to interact and network with scientists from other states which is critical for their career development,” stated Elasri.

This year, six from Mississippi INBRE were highlighted for their research in cancer, neuroscience, integrative medicine, omics and infectious diseases. Also, several won awards to help with travel expenses and one student, Steven Papas from Mississippi College, was asked to present his research orally in a student competition.

“I had never given a presentation before, so the opportunity to teach others about the important discoveries unfolding in our lab was an invaluable experience that I will never forget,” said the Hattiesburg native.

The NISBRE conference proved to be an encourager for faculty and students to continue their research in biomedical fields. Papas stated that this conference inspired him to continue his research in obesity-associated cancers and to continue investing time and effort into Mississippi.

“I often forget there are so many others out there who are continuously working to fight the many diseases and viruses which continue to ail us,” said Papas. “Being afforded the opportunity to experience such an event will forever encourage me in my future endeavors and will shape my approaches to research and to medicine as I continue in this field.”

Students are the heart of Mississippi INBRE as the program had 33 graduate and undergraduate students presenting research they had been working on throughout the year. Dr. Glen Shearer, Mississippi INBRE program coordinator, stated that he sees these students as the future researchers, clinicians, teachers and policy-makers and it encourages him to know that the future is in good hands.

“The work and enthusiasm of these bright young men and women is simply amazing. I am confident they will build upon these experiences to create a bright future for the Magnolia State as well as the entire country” Shearer said.

Mississippi INBRE, directed by Dr. Mohamed Elasri, a professor at The University of Southern Mississippi, is a statewide program that is funded by an Institutional Development Award (IDeA) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health. 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.