Students from several science cohorts at California State University, Dominguez Hills attended the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS), which was held in Charlotte, N.C. last month. Four students presented their research at ABRCMS, with Kristie Gordon taking home a certificate of achievement for her presentation on “Sex-drugs and HIV: How Substances Became Associated with Sex among African American and Latino Young Men Who Have Sex with Men.” A senior majoring in sociology, Gordon was mentored by Dr. Matt Mutchler, associate professor of sociology, interim director, Urban Community Research Center at CSU Dominguez Hills, and director of community-based research at AIDS Project Los Angeles.
The Minority Biomedical Research Program at CSU Dominguez Hills was represented by seniors Vanessa Black, John Gibson, and Monique Turner, who are majoring in psychology; senior Ashley Martin, senior and sophomore Destinie Thompson who are majoring in biochemistry; junior Kumar Tiger, a microbiology major; and Ludivina Vasquez, a junior majoring in psychology.
Six students from the Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research (USTAR) program attended ABRCMS, including seniors Toyin Dunn, Ellen Wayman, and Antonio Zamudio, who are majoring in biology; and Erika Torres, psychology. Ruben Medina, a junior majoring in physics also represented MARC USTAR.
In addition, Steven Mejia, a senior majoring in biology, represented the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation and graduate biology students Kacie Deters and Jorge Martinez took part in ABRCMS as members of the Indiana University School of Medicine Bridges to the Doctorate Program.
Accompanying the students were Dr. Laura Robles, acting dean, College of Natural and Behavioral Sciences, and Dr. Leonardo Martinez, chair of the chemistry and biochemistry department. Professor of biology Dr. Thomas Landefeld also attended ABRCMS as a representative of the Minority Affairs Committee (MAC) of the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He conducted a session on “Networking with Disciplinary Societies” in the chemical and biomedical sciences with Dr. Marie Alda Gilles-Gonzalez from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
Tiger, Turner, and Zamudio also presented their research at the conference.
Tiger presented his work on “Development of the dorsal appendages in Drosophila melanogaster and how they correlate to neural tube defects in fetal human infants.” His faculty research mentor is Dr. Katherine Bates, assistant professor of biology.
“When I was at ABCRMS, I saw everything I could ever want: research, traveling, funding, and working alongside world-renowned scientists,” he said. “I saw my vision of what I will become.”
Turner presented “Age Differences in the Use and Effectiveness of Emotion Regulation Strategies,” a summer research project that she created under the mentorship of Dr. Susan T. Charles of the University of California, Irvine. She was most inspired by a speech given by poet, educator and author Maya Angelou at a luncheon on the last day of ABRCMS.
“I really enjoyed being in an environment of other scholars that are motivated to conduct research, as I am,” said Turner. “I felt really intrigued and motivated to include art in my future research endeavors by the amazing speech of Maya Angelou. I can’t wait until next year’s conference.”
Zamudio, who also did a summer research project, presented “Anthrax Toxin Receptor (ATR) Expression Modulates CD1d-Mediated Antigen Presentation,” mentored by
Dr. Randy R. Brutkiewicz and Dr. Richard M. Gallo of the Indiana University School of Medicine. Zamudio said that the conference was “a career-defining event.”
“Enlightening speeches, intellectually stimulating presentations on current research topics and newly formed connections with graduate schools from around the country have definitely reaffirmed my commitment to my scientific, scholastic and artistic endeavors,” he said.
Gordon, who attended ABRCMS for the first time this year, said that the conference was “an amazing experience.”
“I met so many people of color from all over the country all sharing their love for science and innovation,” she said. “I feel confident that I will reach my goal of going to graduate school and becoming a sociologist because ABRCMS has given me the knowledge and the tools I need to succeed.”
For more information on the sciences at CSU Dominguez Hills, click here.
– Tigress Briggs contributed to this story