Alcorn’s biology students present at annual IDeA biomedical research conference; Senior Sharkiesha Jackson’s poster wins first place in the undergraduate research division

The Mississippi IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) hosted its annual IDeA Conference in the state capital of Jackson. Students and faculty from Alcorn State University’s Department of Biological Sciences attended and presented quality research at the conference.

INBRE is a network of colleges and universities focused on building the biomedical research infrastructure in Mississippi by reaching out to Mississippians in order to improve health throughout the state and to engage talented researchers and students in biomedical research projects that will increase the state’s research competitiveness as well as impact the health of its citizens.

Among the participants at the event was 24-year-old biology major Sharkiesha Jackson of Lawrence, Kansas. A current resident of the Natchez campus, Jackson pulled in first prize with her poster presentation “Introducing Mutations in the GB3 Protein to Understand Gold Nanoparticle Interactions” during the prestigious conference.

Even though she took home the victory, the win took the biology student by surprise.

“I shocked myself,” Jackson said. “I looked around after the announcer called my name and waited until they repeated it.” Showing her gratitude, Jackson briefly paid homage to Alcorn, “Alcorn is the best decision I made,” said Jackson. “It gave me a sense of awareness and immediacy.”

Although Jackson is a graduating senior this semester, the road to this point was not an easy one.

“I don’t think tough is the word to describe it,” Jackson said. “You have to dance in the rain to keep going.”

Despite the challenges that come with being a college student, Jackson can hold her own amid adversity.

As Jackson prepares to take the next step, she remains hopeful that the future brings her good fortune. Though December is still months away, Jackson is showing no signs of slowing down.

“I’ll be receiving my bachelor’s degree in December,” she said. “Being honest, I’m going to take it day-by-day. Over the past year, I began to pull back all of these layers. I’m inspired to continue my education until I earn a doctorate.”

Dr. Volletta Williams, professor, and chair for the Department applauded the students’ efforts and their research and presentation abilities.

“We were ecstatic,” said Williams. “Miss Jackson, our first place winner, has placed first at several conferences. We are proud of all of our students. We had an outstanding number of students presenting and cannot express the joy we shared, watching them perform so well. They all had great projects and mentors.”