Continuing a long-standing partnership of over 15 years, the Mississippi IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (MS-INBRE) served as Major Sponsor for the 88th annual Mississippi Academy of Sciences (MAS) meeting, hosted on Thursday, February 29 – Friday, March 1, 2024, at the Thad Cochran Center on The University of Southern Mississippi’s (USM) Hattiesburg campus. The conference featured over 600 research presentations in oral and poster format. Over 1,200 faculty researchers, students and medical industry leaders from nearly every institution of higher learning in Mississippi attended the meeting to learn, collaborate and share important research findings. MAS 2024 boasts the highest attendance of an MAS meeting since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Scott T. Willard, PhD, Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Mississippi State University (MSU) and Director of the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, presented the Dodgen Lecture, “’Taking Care of What Matters’ – Capacity Building And Investing in our Research Infrastructure.” Dr. Willard discussed how Mississippi institutions can enhance their STEM research programs through investing in research infrastructure, recruiting and retaining talented students, offering faculty funding opportunities and facilitating interdisciplinary collaboration. 

MS-INBRE hosted two sessions at the conference. MS-INBRE Instrumentation and Services Core administration, led by Core Director Dr. Michael R. Garrett, PhD, Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC), discussed free instrumentation services offered by MS-INBRE to in-state researchers at the 2024 MS-INBRE Instrumentation and Services Core Presentation hosted on Thursday. On Friday, Drs. Yufeng Zheng, PhD, MS-INBRE Data Science Core (DSC) Co-Director and Associate Professor of Data Science at UMMC, and Catherine Shi, PhD, MS-INBRE DSC Associate Director and Assistant Professor of Statistics at MSU, collaborated with Dr. Jonathan Barlow, PhD, Associate Director of the Data Science Program at MSU, to discuss the application of deep learning and artificial intelligence (A.I.) to data science research. 

Dr. Alex Flynt, PhD, Director of MS-INBRE and Associate Professor in the School of Biological, Environmental and Earth Sciences at USM, says the meeting is key to promoting collaboration and community between members of the Mississippi research community, one of MS-INBRE’s primary objectives. Dr. Flynt said, “MS-INBRE achieves great outcomes for the state of Mississippi by supporting the Mississippi Academy of Sciences annual meeting. As a program charged with building research capacity in our state, MS-INBRE seeks to increase access to resources such as equipment, provide professional development for scientists and build a robust community to promote collaboration. We view MAS as a great partner in addressing the third goal. Indeed, this year’s meeting represents a rebound in attendance greater than what was seen before the COVID-19 pandemic. To help make the meeting even better and boost attendance, MS-INBRE has launched new workshops to help Mississippians connect with the capabilities offered by high-end instrumentation and provide training in artificial intelligence to introduce cutting-edge approaches for data analysis. MS-INBRE is committed to continuing support for the highly impactful MAS annual meeting.”

MAS is one of the largest STEM research conferences in Mississippi, allowing faculty and students from across the state to share research on a variety of topics ranging from molecular biology to computer sciences. Its 88th meeting featured the largest attendance number in recent years, and attendance is expected to grow exponentially in the near-future. Mississippi INBRE is proud to strengthen in-state STEM research collaborations through sponsoring this important meeting.  

Congratulations to the below Mississippi INBRE-funded faculty and students who were among those that presented, had a student in the undergraduate poster competition or contributed to research that was presented:

  • Catherine Shi, PhD, Mississippi INBRE Data Science Core Associate Director, Mississippi State University
  • Yufeng Zheng, PhD, Mississippi INBRE Data Science Core Co-Director, University of Mississippi Medical Center
  • Wolfgang Kramer, PhD, Mississippi INBRE Grant Awardee, Professor of Chemistry, Millsaps College
  • Karina Kapusta, PhD, Mississippi INBRE Grant Awardee, Tougaloo College
  • Jacques Kessl, PhD, Mississippi INBRE Program Coordinator, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, USM
  • McKenzee Henson, 2023 Mississippi INBRE Research Scholar, Belhaven University
  • Allyson McGowan, 2023 Mississippi INBRE Research Scholar, Tougaloo College
  • Christopher Bruni, 2022 Mississippi INBRE Research Scholar, Millsaps College
  • Madeline Harris, 2023 Mississippi INBRE Research Scholar, University of Mississippi
  • Demetria Tolbert, 2023 Mississippi INBRE Research Scholar, Tougaloo College
  • Simran Patel, 2023 Mississippi INBRE Research Scholar, University of Mississippi


Research presented at this conference is divided into 13 divisions: agriculture and plant sciences; cellular, molecular and developmental biology; chemistry and chemical engineering; ecology and evolutionary biology; geology and geography; health sciences; history and philosophy of science; marine and atmospheric sciences; mathematics, computer sciences and statistics; physics and engineering; psychology and social science; science education; and zoology and entomology.

See more photos from the conference. 

For more information about MAS, visit