Students at the MAS conferenceCOLUMBUS, Miss. -- Sixteen students and three faculty members from the Department of Sciences and Mathematics at Mississippi University for Women recently attended the 77th annual Mississippi Academy of Sciences at Hattiesburg in February.


The MAS is a regional scientific conference that meets every spring in Mississippi. Faculty, undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows from throughout the state present their latest data. MUW has attended this event for more than 10 years.

Cassidy Shadinger of Walker and Ariel Finch of Pickens were two of the students who were recognized for their work. Shadinger received first place for her oral presentation in the undergraduate category in the Division of Cell, Molecular and Developmental Biology. Her presentation was titled, “Analysis of two mutations that affect the t expression of icsA and the surface distribution of IcsA inShigella flexneri.”

Finch also received third place for her oral presentation, “Methanol influences immunoblotting of high and low molecular weight proteins.”

Dr. Ghanshyam Heda, MUW assistant professor of biology and MAS vice chair of the division of Cellular, Molecular and Developmental Biology, was elected as chair of the division for next year.

“I hope that these new opportunities and student training in research may result in surge of enrollment of our students into graduate and professional programs once they graduate from here,” said Heda.

Faculty who also attended the conference included Dr. Lauren Brandon, associate professor of microbiology, and Dr. Ross Whitman, professor of biology. Students who also presented their work were Tamica Patton, Ashley Hayes, Diana Milan,V.A. Graham, Samantha Humphrey, Tshering Sherpa and Upasana Kunwar.

Students and faculty also presented their research at the Mississippi IDeA network of Biomedical Research Excellence symposia which trains and mentors faculty and students at undergraduate institutions and encourages students to develop career in health-related professions.

Research opportunities to these students were possible with the support from Mississippi INBRE funded by NIH.