W student Mary Carr gained hands-on experience in public health and biomedical research through the Mississippi IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) Scholars program.

The Mississippi INBRE Scholars program is divided up into two tracks that students can choose from: the Mississippi INBRE Research Scholars and the Mississippi INBRE Service Scholars. These summer-long experiences allow students to explore the biomedical research outside of a classroom setting.

Students in the Mississippi INBRE Scholars program work with mentors in their field of interest. While working in this field, students are able to learn about different job opportunities, research ethics and safety all while expanding their professional network.

This summer, Carr worked in the lab of Dr. Justin Thornton at Mississippi State University conducting research on Streptococcus pneumoniae. Her research focused on characterizing interactions involved in the illness. This research will be a crucial first step in developing vaccines or drugs to fight against Streptococcus pneumoniae.

The Research Scholars program places students into labs to gain experience in biomedical research while the Service Scholars tie their biomedical research to public health practices by serving the Mississippi Gulf Coast and Jackson communities alongside My Brother’s Keeper, Inc.

After finishing this internship, many students plan to study in a STEM field and to help their community through the skills they learned over the summer.

Mississippi INBRE seeks to engage talented researchers and students in biomedical research projects that will increase the state’s research competitiveness as well as impact the health of citizens of Mississippi.