Bluefield State College students (left-to-right) Shomonique Hankins, Courtney Rolen, and Brianna Punturi are pictured after presenting individual posters at the Southeastern Regional IDeA Conference held in Louisville, November 6-8, 2019.

BSC Students and Faculty Member Participate in Three National Biomedical Research Conferences


The biomedical research work of Bluefield State College students was featured during poster sessions at national biomedical research conferences during November.  BSC students Brianna Punturi, Shomonique Hankins, Courtney Rolen, and Raenel Crenshaw participated in the Southeast Regional IDeA Conference (Louisville, KY), November 6-8, 2019.  Students Shomonique Hankins and Raenel Crenshaw took part in the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) (Anaheim, CA), November 13-17. Dr. Belay also participated in the ABRCMS Conference and presented a poster in the American Society for Gravitational and Space Research held in (Denver, CO) November 20-23, 2019.

At the conferences, the BSC students exchanged information with other microbiologists and gained insight across a variety of scientific disciplines.  “Our students were able to speak to representatives from several institutions of higher education and discuss graduate and professional school opportunities at those institutions,” Dr. Belay noted.  “This is the eleventh time in the past 15 years that BSC students and faculty have participated in the Southeast Regional IDeA Conference and ABRCMS meetings.” 

During the ABRCMS conference, Dr. Belay served as an abstract reviewer and onsite poster presentation judge–responsibilities that gave him the opportunity to interact with outstanding undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, and graduate students as they pursue their passion for the sciences.

Ms. Crenshaw and Ms. Hankins are Health Sciences & Technology Academy (HSTA) awardees of the West Virginia-IDeA Network Biomedical Research Excellence and have been conducting biomedical research in Dr. Belay’s laboratory. 

“We are thankful to the WV-INBRE, the Bluefield State College Title III office, and the BSC Student Affairs Office for providing travel awards for the research students and Dr. Belay to participate in the conferences,” Dr. Belay added.

The research works are supported by grants awarded to Dr. Belay from the National Institute of Health Grant P20GM103434, the West Virginia IDeA Network for Biomedical Research Excellence, and NIH Grant R15 AI124156-01awarded to Bluefield State College.

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