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BSC Student Completes Summer Research Internship at VCU

  • Created
    Friday, September 14 2012
  • Created by
    Jim Nelson/Media Relations - (304) 327-4103 jnelson@bluefieldstate.edu

ajo bajo(Bluefield)—Aja Bayo found big opportunities at a smaller college, Bluefield State. The BSC senior recently completed a three month summer research internship at Virginia Commonwealth University and is on target to graduate next May, then attend medical school.

"I am from The Gambia in West Africa," she said during a break between classes. "My family wanted me to go to school in New York, but I had friends and family who had attended and graduated from Bluefield State College and they highly recommended the College. When I arrived here in 2009, I really liked the smaller community pace at BSC and the research opportunities available here."

Bayo, a pre-med major, took a "Methods in Microbiology Research" class from Dr. Tesfaye Belay, and she enjoyed the experience. "Dr. Belay told me about the research internship opportunities, I applied for three and chose the three month internship at VCU.

Arriving at Virginia Commonwealth shortly after BSC's 2011-12 academic year ended last May, Bayo was mentored by VCU Medical School Biophysics faculty member Dr. Roland Pittman. "The purpose of my research was to determine if alginate beads loaded with angiogenic agents would provide an effective drug delivery system for their administration to the chorio-allantoic membrane (CAM) preparation. My research dealt with determining the effectiveness of this approach in delivering relatively small molecules (~200-500 Da), such as angiogenic agents, to the CAM tissue.

"The summer research internship was a wonderful experience," she continued. "I interacted with students from other colleges and universities as we studied and conducted research together. "The faculty at Bluefield State College, particularly Dr. Belay (Biology) and Dr. Julie Kalk (Physics) prepared me very well for the internship."

The BSC senior will take the Medical College Aptitude Test (MCAT), and then apply for admission into medical school. "I have dreamed of attending medical school for many years, then becoming a pediatrician or family practice physician and returning to The Gambia," she stated.