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IGBB News & Research Highlights

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May 17, 2016

By Sasha Steinberg

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Nearly 60 senior research scientists, postdoctoral fellows and undergraduate and graduate students from Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee institutions of higher learning are gathering Thursday-Friday [May 19-20] at Mississippi State for the 2016 Southeastern Pneumococcal Symposium.

Bringing together nearly one quarter of all of the major pneumococcal research laboratories in the U.S., this year's two-day scientific conference is designed to facilitate discussion and foster new collaborations between labs in an effort to increase funding opportunities for the institutions involved.

Topics of discussion will include host-pathogen interactions, epidemiology, antimicrobial therapies, bacterial physiology, vaccine research and polymicrobial infections.

Occurring in the respiratory tract, pneumococcus is a spherical bacterium that is the most common cause of bacterial pneumonia and also is associated with pericarditis, meningitis and other infectious diseases.

Serving as keynote speaker for this year's symposium is David Briles. A world-renowned Streptococcus pneumoniae biology and pathogenesis researcher, he also is the symposium's founder.

In addition to the American Society for Microbiology, support for this year's event is provided by the university's Institute for Genomics, Biotechnology & Biocomputing, College of Arts & Sciences and its Department of Biological Sciences, and the College of Veterinary Medicine and its Center of Biomedical Research Excellence.

For more information on the MSU-hosted 2016 Southeastern Pneumococcal Symposium, contact biological sciences assistant professor Justin Thornton at 662-325-8020 or

MSU is Mississippi's leading university (see

The image shows Streptococcus pneumoniae in spinal fluid (FA stain; digitally colorized). Photo Credit/Content Providers(s): CDC/Dr. M.S. Mitchell - This media comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Public Health Image Library (PHIL).

April 22, 2016

Kellie Mitchell's scientific prowess and communication skills have distinguished her among her peers. Recently, Ms. Mitchell - a senior in the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology & Plant Pathology (BCH-EPP) - won first place honors at three different events; specifically, the Biology Undergraduate Research Program Symposium (click here for article), the Judy and Bobby Shackhouls Honor College's MSU Undergraduate Research Symposium (best oral presentation), and best undergraduate oral presentation in the Cellular, Molecular & Developmental Biology Section at the 2016 Meeting of the Mississippi Academy of Sciences (click here for more information). Ms. Mitchell has been mentored by Dr. Yuhua Farnell, BCH-EPP faculty member and IGBB affiliate, Dr. James A. Stewart, Jr. of the Department of Biological Sciences, and Dr. Chuan-Yu Hsu, the IGBB's chief genomics scientist. "It takes a 'perfect storm' of events for an undergraduate student to have so much research success," notes Dr. Daniel G. Peterson, IGBB Director. "In this case you had a very bright, well-spoken, and creative young lady with a phenomenal trio of advisors. This is great undergraduate education...great undergraduate research...great mentorship."

The title and authors listed on Ms. Mitchell's winning presentations are as follows:

"Altered clock gene oscillations in cardiac fibroblasts from obesity and diabetic mice"
Kellie Mitchell, Jamie Stewart, Chuan-Yu Hsu, Yuhua Farnell

Ms. Mitchell will graduate in May and will start medical school at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in the fall.

Funding for the research performed by Ms. Mitchell and her advisory team was provided, in part, from awards from the MSU Office of Research & Economic Development and the Mississippi Agricultural & Forestry Experiment Station. Further support was provided by the IGBB.

March 30, 2016

Dr. Diana Outlaw, a faculty member in the Department of Biology and an IGBB affiliate, has received funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to conduct some innovative studies on malaria and its transfer and adaptation to new host species. The IGBB has worked with Dr. Outlaw for several years and is currently providing funding to support another of her malaria-based projects. For more information about Dr. Outlaw's NIH award, click here.
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