11:34 AM

Three Biology Research Students Win Best Poster Presentations at ABRCMS 2020

ABRCMS conference logoFive University of St. Thomas biology students conducting research with Biology Professor Rosie Rosell recently presented at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students, ABRCMS 2020: The Virtual Experience. Three students – Jernie Rae Rideb, Carolyn Lawrence, Jamila Boukari won best poster presentation in their category.

Undergraduate Junior-Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Jernie Rae Rideb

Poster title and authors: The Effects of Temperature On Superoxide Dismutase Activity and Bleaching in Sea Anemones, Exaiptasia pallida. Rideb. J, Varghese. A, Bagnall R. A., and Rosell RC. Department of Biology, University of St. Thomas, Houston, TX 77006

Jernie RidebThis was my first experience presenting research at ABRCMS, and I walked away with a new passion for research,” Rideb said. “It was an honor to represent the University of St. Thomas and our wonderful Biology department. I owe this award to the endless dedication of my research advisor Dr. Rosell and group member Anabel Varghese. I hope to participate next year in person and connect with other students and universities.” 

Undergraduate Senior- Developmental Biology and Genetics

Carolyn Lawrence

Poster Title and authors: Determining the Resulting Toxicity Effects of Toluene Exposure on Adult Female Fly Fecundity and Offspring Development in Drosophila melanogaster.  Lawrence, C., Ballinger, M., Ferguson, T., Lopez, F., Pham, N., Truong, S., Ullah, E, Rosell, RC. Department of Biology, UST, Houston, TX 77006

Carolyn Lawrence“ABRCMS was the first conference I have attended, and it was truly an incredible experience,” Lawrence said. “Everything from the booths I visited, to the peers and professors I connected with, to the information I learned about the many ways I can further my education and research experience, was top notch. I was absolutely impressed by the quality of the conference, despite it being completely virtual this year, and the cherry on top of it all was being awarded for my hard work and presentation that I gave in the ePoster category. The experience of presenting at a conference was 100% worth all the time and effort my research team put into our work this year. I am also especially thankful for the support my team and research mentor Dr. Rosell gave me as I worked toward the completion of my presentation. None of my achievements would have been possible without them!”

Undergraduate Senior – Physiology and Pharmacology

Jamila Boukari

Poster Title and authors: Methionine Aminopeptidase Inhibitors in Mammalian Cells. Boukari, J.1, Croes, A.1, Nguyen, C.1, Alvarez, M.1, Clymer, J.1, Olaleye, O.2, Rosell, RC.1. 1 Biology Department, University of St. Thomas, Houston, TX. 2 Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Texas Southern University, Houston, TX 77006

Jamilia Boukari"I had a lot of fun participating in ABRCMS! I met many professionals from all over the country who spoke about undergraduate internship opportunities, Ph.D programs, and much more,” Boukari said. “It was especially interesting attending a virtual conference for the first time, but I was still able to hear some amazing presentations and connect with other students. I learned a lot about preparing research for a virtual presentation and received tons of feedback that helped me to better my presentation skills in the future."

In addition, the following students presented their posters.

Poster Title and authors:

Characterization of Viral Communities Carried by Male and Female Aedes Mosquitoes Collected in Houston.  Silguero, M., Brittain, D., Tran, V., Davalos, S., Pham, F., Rosell, RC., and Larios-Sanz, M. Department of Biology, University of St. Thomas, Houston, TX

Toluene Exposure and the Resulting Toxicity Effects on Fly Fecundity and Offspring Development in Drosophila melanogaster. Lopez F, Ullah E, Lawrence C, Truong S, Balaguer M, Pham N, Ferguson T, and Rosell RC. Department of Biology, UST, Houston, TX 77006


In order to move the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) forward, more diversity is crucial, which means the inclusion of minorities, veterans and people with disabilities working in these fields.

The first ABRCMS hosted by American Society of Microbiology in 2001, was founded to encourage minority, first-generation, veteran, and disabled students to pursue higher education in STEM.

Today, ABRCMS is one of the largest professional conferences for underrepresented students. ABRCMS also provides program directors and faculty the tools they need to help their students succeed.

“Students at all levels of STEM training are encouraged to attend the ABRCMS annual meeting—from undergraduate to postdoctoral, from community colleges, private colleges and large universities,” Rosell said. “It is a place not only for presenting their research but also for learning about cutting edge science, making connections and networks, getting professional skills and development training, meeting scientists from all over the US and learning how underrepresented minorities succeed in STEM—among many other opportunities for students.”

UST Especially Suited for ABRCMS

According to Rosell, UST as a Hispanic and Asian student-serving institution is especially suited for ABRCMS. “In biology, our students have been attending ABRCMS yearly since at least 2015, however, due to this meeting being virtual, six students were able to attend and present.

“These types of opportunities for our students are the icing on the cake for them. To have spent several years working with a team on a research project, and to be acknowledged for their efforts and enthusiasm, is the ultimate reward in science.

“In this time of COVID-19, when most students are falling behind, I feel that my research students have gone above and beyond to follow the health guidelines while continuing their research,” Rosell said. “I am extremely proud of their work and of all of the students who presented at ABRCMS this year. I feel that attending professional scientific conferences is vitally important to their training to become independent scientists. These experiences allow students to become more confident in themselves, their knowledge, their communication skills and allows them to expand their career network to collaborators, scientists and academics from many other universities.”