27 Nov 2017

The School of Sciences, Mathematics and Public Health ‘represents’ at ABCRMS!

Left to Right: Front Row – Malika Wood (Biology), Isis Thomas (Chemistry) and Mrs. Shelia Spence. Back Row – Dr. Mark Melton, Khadijah Payne (Biology), Kashawn Robertson (Chemistry), Dr. Tyrell Carr, Dequante McKoy (Engineering Mathematics) and Tevin Williams (Biology).

Dr. Mark Melton, Dean – School of Sciences, Mathematics and Public Health (SSMPH) and Professor of Biology; Dr. Tyrell Carr, Assistant Professor of Biology; and Ms. Shelia Spence, STEM Program Coordinator of SSMPH accompanied six students to the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) in Phoenix, Arizona on November 1-4, 2017.  The students, Dequante McKoy, Khadijah Payne, Kashawn Robertson, Isis Thomas, Tevin Williams and Malika Wood presented research and networked with other students while navigating the many summer research internship and graduate school opportunities. Dr. Melton presented a seminar on Strategies for Writing “Competitive” Proposals at Small Colleges and Universities. Both Dr. Carr and Dr. Melton served as judges for poster presentations in computational & systems biology and neuroscience, respectively. Dr. Carr also reviewed research abstracts submitted to 2017 ABRCMS. Mrs. Spence attended various sessions on support services for the retention of STEM majors at Saint Augustine’s University. 

 The conference is designed to encourage underrepresented minority students to pursue advanced training in the biomedical and behavioral sciences, engineering, and mathematics and to provide faculty mentors and advisors with resources for facilitating students’ success. The experience was very valuable and rewarding for all. More than 1,200 vendors from colleges, universities and companies were in attendance to actively recruit some of the best and brightest minority students in the world. ABRCMS is the largest, professional conference for biomedical, bio engineering, and behavioral mathematics students, attracting approximately 4,400 individuals, including approximately 2,600 undergraduate students, 500 graduate students & postdoctoral scientists, and 1,200 faculty, program directors and administrators. Attending students represent more than 350 U.S. colleges and universities.

 Additionally, students are judged on their oral and poster presentations in 12 different scientific disciplines. Saint Augustine’s University STEM majors presented their Summer 2017 research in the poster sessions for biochemistry & molecular biology, chemistry, developmental biology & genetics and Engineering, Physics & Mathematics.

 Presentations from our students:

·     Dequante McKoyNon-Invasive Sensing Technologies for Infrastructure Assessment and Health Monitoring, University of Virginia: Dr. Devin Harris, mentor.

·       Khadijah PayneThe Effect of Stream Ecology on Fish Communities and Populations in Rural and Urban Landscapes, North Carolina State University: Dr. Stacy Nelson, mentor.

·     Kashawn RobertsonCuticular lipid profiles of juvenile and adult leaves from 13 genetically diverse maize inbreds show metabolome variation, Iowa State University: Dr. Marna Yandeau-Nelson, mentor.

·         Isis Thomas The Identification of Cutting Agents Using Paper-Based Analytical Devices with Colorimetric Detection, University of São Paulo – Brazil: Dr. Thiago Paixão, mentor.

·    Tevin Williams – Exploring Tropane Alkaloid Biosynthesis and Diversity within Solanaceae, Michigan State University: Dr. Cornelius Barry, mentor.

·         Malika WoodTargeting Lentiviral Integration into the Host Chromosomes via AAV CRISPR-dCas9 System, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences: Dr. Negin Martin, mentor.

Poster Presentation Award

 Isis Thomas

Certificate of Achievement in Chemistry and $300 Award


 ABRCMS – American Society of Microbiology Student Travel Award

Dequante McKoy, Khadijah Payne, Kashawn Robertson, Isis Thomas, Tevin Williams

STEM Futures 

Attendance at ABRCMS 2017 has encouraged students to further excel in research and professional opportunities. The following students are Spring 2018 Candidates for Graduation and currently applying to STEM graduate programs: Dequante McKoy, Khadijah Payne, Tevin Williams and Malika Wood.


Conference attendance was sponsored by National Science Foundation grants (HBCU-UP RIA, HBCU-UP TIP, HBCU-UP S-STEM, and Va-NC LSAMP) for which Dr. Mark A. Melton-Dean, School of Sciences, Mathematics & Engineering, serves as Principal Investigator.