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The following are students enrolled in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics graduate program.
Year: 1 PhDEmail: Laura Coats
Academic background: Graduated from Mississippi State University in 2012 with a BS in Secondary Education. Graduated from Mississippi State University in 2016 with a MS in Food Science, Nutrition, and Health Promotion. Received a certificate in Nutrition Supervised Practice from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2016.
Research and personal statement: I began my college career wanting to become a teacher. However, after a short period teaching high school science classes, I knew that I wanted to further my education. My science background led me to pursue a master's degree in nutrition and seek certification as a registered dietitian. My experiences in nutrition allowed me to understand and observe the link between nutrition and chronic diseases. These experiences instilled the desire to discover the means to manage and prevent chronic diseases through nutrition. UMMC will provide me with the research and educational opportunities to further understand and identify the physiological relationships between nutrition and chronic disease.
Year: 1 PhDEmail: Tyler Lomax
Academic background: Graduated from Towson University in 2014 with a BS in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. Graduated from the University of Mississippi Medical Center in 2016 with an MS in Biomedical Sciences
Research and personal statement: After receiving my baccalaureate, I decided to pursue a path that would ultimately lead to becoming a professor at a college institution. While deciding on my next course of action, I worked as analytical chemist for a company that was developing/researching a new technique to synthesize therapeutic nanosolutions which would ultimately be used to cure diseases. The excitement of working in a laboratory with other scientist in an effort to develop something that could improve the livelihood of others solidified my interest in the field of research. It is my goal to generate a robust foundation that will benefit me in my future scientific endeavors. I believe that the program of Physiology and Biophysics here at UMMC is essential to achieving that goal.
Year: 2 PhDEmail: Elena Dent
Academic background: Graduated from Mississippi State University in 2008 with a BS in Nutrition, from Vanderbilt University Medical Center in 2009 with a post baccalaureate Nutrition Supervised Practice certificate, and from the University of Mississippi Medical Center in 2015 with a MS in Biomedical Sciences
Research and personal statement: While working as a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator, I participated in a research project focused on diabetes education. This experience introduced me to the opportunities that research can provide and helped define my career goals of becoming an academic researcher. As a graduate student, I am interested in connecting my experiences in nutrition and metabolic disorders with the strong physiology background I will receive as part of the UMMC Department of Physiology and Biophysics.
Year: 2 PhDEmail: Adrian Eddy
Academic background: Graduated from Aquinas College in 2014 with a BS in Biology
Research and personal statement: Throughout my undergraduate career, I had planned on continuing my education to become a physician assistant. After graduating, I took a year to work on an ambulance as an emergency medical technician. Through this process, I was able to determine that becoming a PA was not the correct path for me. Though I never participated in research during my undergraduate studies, I always enjoyed the more involved lab experiments and knew that this was the route I should pursue. I have been thrilled to have the chance to further my education at UMMC, and I look forward to exploring the different research opportunities available here.
Year: 2 PhDEmail: Erika Guise
Academic background: Graduated from University of Wyoming in 2015 with a BS in Physiology
Research and personal statement: During my undergraduate studies at University of Wyoming, I got the chance to work in a neuropharmacology lab assisting with the investigation of how drug use, painful stimuli, and diet can impact neuroplasticity. This experience provided me with an interest in a career in research. In combination with my experience tutoring as an undergraduate, I am very interested in pursuing a career in education. I believe UMMC will provide me with the exceptional training necessary for these fields, and I look forward to discovering the research opportunities available here.
Year: 3 PhDEmail: Gwendolyn Davis
Academic background: Graduated from Mississippi State University in 2014 with a BS in Biological Engineering
Research and personal statement: While attending Mississippi State University, I had the opportunity to collaborate on research projects analyzing the biomechanics of the mitral valve of the heart. That, coupled with an interest in improving the cardiovascular health and obesity rates within this state, led me to the UMMC Physiology and Biophysics program. I look forward to researching conditions involving ways to identify the underlying causes of diseases and develop more efficient treatments and solutions to prevent them.
Year: 3 PhDEmail: Victoria Wolf
Academic background: Graduated from Mississippi State University in 2012 with a BS in Biological Engineering and from Mississippi State University in 2014 with a MS in Biomedical Engineering
Research and personal statement: I had the opportunity to complete my master's thesis work in Dr. Robert Hester's lab in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics. My work focused on mathematical modeling of the normal menstrual cycle in women. While working in the department as a master's student, I developed a strong appreciation for biomedical research and became very interested in physiological processes related to women's health issues. As a PhD student, I am interested in researching the role of sex differences in the progression of cardiovascular disease, and I am very excited to begin this next phase of my educational career.
Year: 3 PhD/ 3 MDEmail: Ashley Newsome
Academic background: Graduated from Belmont University in 2012 with a BS in Biology
Research and personal statement: As an undergraduate student, I participated in three research projects that showed me the link between basic science research and health promotion. My summer work in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics under the mentorship of Dr. Barbara Alexander convinced me that I would receive excellent training as both a clinician and scientist at UMMC. I am currently entering my first year as an MD/PhD student here, and I hope that my future research contributes to the understanding of mechanisms of disease progression and therapies to improve disease outcomes in cardiovascular disease.
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