ReBUILDetroit scholars win awards at Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students

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Three scholars from the ReBUILDetroit program won awards for best posters in the Social and Behavioral, Public Health discipline category at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) in Tampa, Florida, last month.

The winning posters by Wayne State University sophomores Leena Abbas, Ki-Jana Malone and Mohammed B. Mohammed are respectively: “Effects of Paternal Asthma on Birth Weight,” “The Effects of Texting and Driving: Influence of Driving Speed” and “The Effects of Texting and Driving: Influence of Text Message Length.”

Winning ReBUILDetroit scholars: Mohammed B. Mohammed, Leena Abbas and Ki-Jana Malone

ABRCMS is one of the largest professional conferences to encourage underrepresented minority students pursuing advanced training in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Students at ABRCMS participate in poster and oral presentations in twelve disciplines in the biomedical and behavioral sciences, including mathematics. Undergraduate student presentations are judged by doctoral-level graduate students, postdoctoral scientists and research faculty. Those with the highest scores in each scientific discipline receive awards.

The conference provides an opportunity for undergraduate students to learn to present their scientific story.

“I got to talk to several students and scientists throughout the country and they gave me feedback on my research” Malone said. “This feedback was important because my lab had not thought about some of the ways we could further interpret and advance our research.”

In many cases, this conference provides the first networking opportunities for undergraduate students. 

“Presenting my research allows me to network with other members of the scientific community and to gain ideas for future projects,” Abbas said.

The four-day conference is filled with leading scientific speakers from around the country.

“I found the presentations incredibly inspiring,” Malone said. “I consider Dr. Gerberding as one of my role models after hearing her keynote speech.”

As part of ReBUILDetroit’s Summer Research Experience, scholars experience scientific discovery by sharing their research with one another at a Research Day.

“Participating in the ReBUILDetroit poster sessions prepared me well. I had time to practice how to present in a scientific setting,” Abbas said.

ReBUILDetroit scholars from consortium partner, University of Detroit Mercy, also were in attendance.

“My view of research changed a lot after attending this conference,” Vanessa Lee, sophomore ReBUILDetroit scholar at University of Detroit Mercy, said. “I see the bigger picture to research which I did not before. This experience was life changing!”

ABRCMS is sponsored by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, Division of Training, Workforce Development, and Diversity and managed by the American Society for Microbiology.

For more information on the ReBUILDetroit program, please visit:

ReBUILDetroit scholars attending ABRCMS

The Diversity Program Consortium Coordination and Evaluation Center at UCLA is supported by Office of the Director of the National Institutes of Health / National Institutes of General Medical Sciences under award number U54GM119024.
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