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UT Arlington biology student earns top honors at national conference of emerging STEM researchers

Monday, March 9, 2015

Media Contact: Bridget Lewis

News Topics: awards, science, students

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Emmanuel Fordjour, a University of Texas at Arlington senior double majoring in biology and microbiology, earned top honors recently at the Emerging Researchers National Conference in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in Washington, D.C.

Emmanuel Fordjour

The conference was hosted last month by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Education and Human Resources Programs, and the National Science Foundation Division of Human Resource Development, within the Directorate for Education and Human Resources. It included more than 750 poster and oral research presentations from undergraduate and graduate students from institutions across the United States.

Fordjour received a first-place prize in the Biological Sciences division after delivering a platform presentation of his research project titled, “Anti‐Clostridium difficile Activity of Paired Rifaximin‐based Antibiotic Combinations."  

The project examined ways to fight the dangerous, hospital-acquired disease, Clostridium difficile Infection, also known as C. difficile or CDI.

“I am honored to receive this award and credit this achievement to the excellent research mentoring among other incredible educational opportunities I have received at UT Arlington,” Fordjour said. “This latest project is the culmination of all our work on identifying and evaluating these synergistic antibiotic combinations against C. difficile and it is humbling to receive this recognition from AAAS for our efforts.”

Fordjour received a travel award from the AAAS to attend the conference. He also received partial travel funds from UT Arlington because of his status as a previous University of Texas System Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) scholar.

The program, which has partnerships with several UT System institutions, seeks to increase the number of underrepresented minority students pursuing careers in STEM careers.

Ashley Purgason, assistant vice president for strategic initiatives at UT Arlington, served as a co-principal investigator for the University’s LSAMP grant. She said Fordjour represents what UT Arlington students are capable of when presented with high-impact opportunities.

“Our students have tremendous talent, waiting to be revealed through unique experiences that we can provide as a University,” Purgason said. “As one of Emmanuel’s mentors, it has been a pure joy to watch him distinguish himself both at home on our campus and at the national level. Emmanuel has a bright future as a physician-researcher and I can say with confidence that research fellowships, like that of LSAMP, have given him a platform on which he can grow and shine.”

Students who want to be considered for a UT Arlington LSAMP grant must have 30 hours of college credit and have an interest in pursuing research in the STEM fields. Potential applicants are highly encouraged to talk with faculty to explore their particular research interests.

Visit www.uta.edu/admissions/lsamp/ or contact Ashley Purgason, UT Arlington LSAMP campus director, at purgason@uta.edu or 817-272-1745 for more information.

About The University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution of more than 48,000 students around the world and the second largest institution in The University of Texas System. The Chronicle of Higher Education ranked UT Arlington as the seventh fastest-growing public research university in 2013. U.S. News & World Report ranks UT Arlington fifth in the nation for undergraduate diversity. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more, and find UT Arlington rankings and recognition at www.uta.edu/uta/about/rankings.php.

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The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.