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DATE: August 13, 2001
CONTACT: Calvin Burns, 901/333-5338 or Marilyn Duncan, 901/333-4247

STCC to Host 2002 NIH Regional Bridge Conference; 
2001 Showing Impressive

Organizers of the Sixth Annual Southeastern Regional National Institutes of Health Sciences Bridge Conference (NIH) were so impressed with Southwest Tennessee Community College's presentations at the two-day event, that they selected the College as the host institution for the 2002 meeting. Bridge institutions from Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida and Georgia will be invited to participate. STCC was represented by 10 of its students at this year's conference, which was held August 3-4, at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. The NIH Bridge Program is a national initiative designed to get more minority students involved with Biomedical Sciences research.

Other institutions of higher learning represented at the meeting included the University of Alabama-Birmingham, Jefferson State Community College, University of South Alabama, Jackson State University, Hinds Community College, Daytona Beach Community College, Bethune-Cookman College, University of Central Florida, Bishop State Community College and Pensacola Junior College.

Presenters at the conference focused on research conducted during the summer. The research is on-going, and covers the areas of data processing, application, computer skills, analysis, laboratory, clinical and field work.

Dr. Indiren Pillay, assistant professor of Natural Sciences, is also the co-director of the STCC Bridge Program. "Our students delivered professional presentations, answered questions effectively and participated fully in every meeting," Pillay said. "They treated this meeting with the seriousness and professionalism that one may usually expect from graduate students."

The students who made presentations are:
 Okima Kilgore, Determining the Effects of Gamma Sterilization of Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE), Research Advisor, Dr. Shah Jahan, University of Memphis;

 Rhonda Langley and Anne Sweeny, Investigation of Ras-Gap Activity in Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells, Research Advisor, Dr. K. U. Malik, University of Tennessee;

 Amanda Clayborne and Laura Allen, The Use of Self-grooming as a Form of Communication in Meadow Voles, Research Advisor, Dr. Michael Ferkin, University of Memphis;

 Cheryl E. Stokes, Tissue and Cell Culture of Madagascar Periwinkle, Research Advisor, Dr. M. Uddin, LeMoyne-Owen College;

 Maya Ervin, The Creation of the Anatomical Esophagus for Electrical Defibrillation of the Heart, Research Advisor, Dr. Amy De Jongh, University of Memphis;

Tom Olando, Thermal Stabilization of Gamma-Sterilized Polyethylene Components of Total Joint Replacements, Research Advisor, Dr. Shah Jahan, University of Memphis;

 Corry Tunstall, The Effects of Exercise on the Expression of Endothelial Nitric Oxide Synthase in the Sensory Motor Cortex, Research Advisor, Dr. A. Olahedin, University of Tennessee; and

Torre Thomas, Ethanol Consumption vs Water Consumption in Mice, Research Advisor, Dr. Kristin Hamre, University of Tennessee.

In September 2000, NIH awarded a three-year grant of $530,000 to the Natural Sciences Department at Southwest Tennessee Community College, to fund the Bridge to the Biomedical Sciences Program. STCC is the managing institution of the grant. The University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center, the University of Memphis and LeMoyne-Owen College also are participating in the project.

The primary objective of the initiative is to increase the number of minority students who successfully transfer from STCC to four-year colleges and help them establish careers in the areas of Biomedical and Natural Sciences. Since its inception in 1995, more than 30 students at the College have completed the program and transferred to four-year colleges and universities to earn a Bachelor of Science degree.

For more information about the Bridge to the Biomedical Sciences Program, call Southwest Tennessee Community College at (901) 333-5220.  

Southwest Tennessee Community College is a Tennessee Board of Regents institution.