MSU honors student researchers during annual biology symposium

MSU Biological Sciences Department Head Angus Dawe, left, congratulates Biological Sciences Undergraduate Research Program symposium third place winner Rachel Fowler of Union City, Tennessee, first place winner Josi Lott of Memphis, Tennessee, and First Place Mentor Award Winner Justin Thornton. Not pictured is second place winner Christopher Lebeau of Harvest, Alabama. (Photo by Beth Wynn)

Contact: James Carskadon

Participants in Mississippi State’s 11th annual Biological Sciences Undergraduate Research Program symposium pose with faculty members and keynote speaker Veronica Scott, far right, after Friday’s [April 6] award ceremony. (Photo by Beth Wynn)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Three Mississippi State students who conducted faculty-guided research projects throughout the current school year took top awards Friday [April 6] at the 11th annual MSU Biological Sciences Undergraduate Research Program symposium.

First-, second- and third-place winners each garnered Downer Undergraduate Research Awards that honor Professor Emeritus Donald N. Downer of Starkville, a former longtime department head. Recipients include:

FIRST—Josi Lott, a senior biological sciences major from Memphis, Tennessee. Her project “Visualization of Streptococcus Pneumoniae Autolysis: A role for LytA in eDNA release and Biofilm Formation” was completed under the guidance of Associate Professor of Biological Sciences Justin Thornton.

SECOND—Christopher Lebeau, a junior biological engineering major from Harvest, Alabama. His project “Identifying Fruiting Behaviors and Mechanisms of Copromyxa Protea” was completed under the guidance of Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences Matthew Brown.

THIRD—Rachel Fowler, a senior microbiology major from Union City, Tennessee. Her project “Expressing Pneumococcal Proteins for Possible Inclusion in a Vaccine Targeting Colonization” was completed under the guidance of Thornton.

Each winner received an engraved plaque and cash award. As the first-place recipient, Lott also was presented with an engraved MSU cowbell.

Thornton also received the First Place Mentor Award for his support of undergraduate research.

Veronica Scott, assistant professor of preclinical sciences at William Carey University, served as the keynote speaker for the symposium at Harned Hall.

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Friday, April 6, 2018 - 4:01 pm