SU grad students bring home awards from science competition


Two Southern University graduate students recently won and placed at a national science competition.


The two students attended the 71st annual National Institute of Science/Beta Kappa Chi meeting held in March in Houston. 


Orville Phillip came in first place in the poster presentation category and Danielle Marie Refuge came in second place in the graduate oral competition. Both are members of SU's Graduate Studies Association.


Phillip's presentation was "Differential effects of Biz-2 in cancer cells" where he won first place in the graduate student poster competition.


At 55 years old, Phillip is considered a "non traditional student." He smiles at the reference. He has been going to school and working intermittently since earning his undergraduate degree in the Virgin Islands.


Phillip is a fourth-year doctorate student in the Environmental Toxicology Program. His current research in Dr. Wesley Gray's lab is in the area of the use of natural compounds in the treatment of prostate cancer.


The native of the Virgin Islands came SUBR in spring 2011. He has focused on the study of toxicology, while making time for the food and culture of the people of Louisiana, as well as a better understanding of life in the USA.


Phillip said his presentation was not tough since had been prepared by his instructors and classmates. "This win is good for me and for Southern University and the (Environmental Toxicology) program," he said.


Refuge, is a 4th-year doctoral student in the Environmental Toxicology program. She recently received her Biology Masters of Science degree and is currently completing her doctoral research under Dr. Eduardo Martinez-Ceballos with a concentration in gene expression analysis.


She is a native of New Orleans and a graduate of Xavier University in the New Orleans.


The title of the presentation that gained her a second-place in the graduate student oral competition category was "RNA-SEQ Analysis Reveals the Differential Expression of Hoxa1 Target Genes in Mouse ES Cells in Response to Retinoic Acid."


Refuge laughed, saying she thought her presentation was good enough to win. "But seriously, this meant a lot for my school and the lab group that I am part of and my instructor," she said.


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