The Mississippi IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE), in conjunction with the Mississippi Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), hosted the inaugural Mississippi IDeA/EPSCoR Conference 2022 on July 28, 2022, at the Lake Terrace Convention Center in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. The conference boasted over 400 attendees and 171 presentations in both oral and poster format, including many from Mississippi INBRE-funded faculty, staff and students.

Highlights include the opening session presented by Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) State Health Officer Dr. Daniel Edney, “State of the State,” as well as the closing session hosted by Dr. Nelson Atehortua De la Pena, Director of the Office of Health Data and Research for the MSDH.

Owing to the conference’s success was its unique structure. Bringing students, researchers, and public health professionals together, the meeting featured both a STEM track and the second annual Mississippi Health Disparities 2022 (MHD2022), as well as undergraduate poster competitions. Hosted by Mississippi INBRE, MHD is an annual meeting focused on public health research, with the overall goal to eliminate health disparities in Mississippi. Collaboration amongst these varied groups is rare and made for a day full of scientific breakthroughs and discovery.

“Mississippi INBRE was proud to organize a venue for students and scientists from across the state to present their work. This was the first time multiple programs participated, leading to an event with over 400 attendees. With the scale of the meeting, researchers from a breadth of disciplines were attracted– from chemists to cell biologists, to those involved in public health. Seeing this success, we hope to plan a similar conference next year,” says Dr. Alex Flynt, Program Director of Mississippi INBRE.

Mississippi INBRE is pleased to have offered such a stimulating opportunity for students to gain presentation experience. Not only were undergraduate poster sessions hosted on both the STEM and MHD2022 tracks, but nearly every session on the STEM track featured graduate student speakers. Of the seven students who placed in the undergraduate poster competitions, five are former Mississippi INBRE Student Scholars.

Congratulations to all who placed in the poster competitions. See the full list of poster competition winners below:

Overall Best Research Poster:

Dakota Kilcrease, William Carey University, Mississippi INBRE Outreach Scholar

STEM Laboratory Poster Competition:

1st place- Brian Ridenour, Arizona State University

2nd place- Rachel Worden, Georgia Institute of Technology

3rd place- Lola Smith, The University of Southern Mississippi, Mississippi INBRE Research Scholar

Community-Based Poster Competition:

1st place- Jaylen Sandifer, Jackson State University, Mississippi INBRE Service Scholar

2nd place- Tylan Hunt, The University of Southern Mississippi, Mississippi INBRE Outreach Scholar

3rd place- Maria Matory, The University of Southern Mississippi, Mississippi INBRE Outreach Scholar