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Pieces of Eight


Science Serves as Recruiting Tool

A new program at the Brody School of Medicine encourages research careers among undergraduates through extended exposure to active, productive research laboratories where the students can experience science first hand.

The Summer Biomedical Research Program, begun in June, included nine weeks of research experience in the ECU science labs and career development workshops presented by ECU faculty.

At the conclusion of the program, students shared their research findings during a poster session and received feedback from attending Brody faculty. Students also had the opportunity to present their data in November at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students in Orlando, Fla.

Brody School of Medicine faculty assigned to students were Dr. Chris Wingard from the Department of Physiology and Dr. Jacques Robidoux from the Department of Toxicology. Two students from Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte participated in the program.

Robidoux said the mentoring experience was “a gratifying experience for students and mentors alike.”

“When students come to work in your laboratory they become part of your family. Your job is to inculcate the basics of scientific research,” he said. “So, like a father, some days you are guiding every step, but you also have to act tough and let them struggle a little.”

Dr. George Kasperek, assistant dean for Graduate Studies at the School of Medicine, said that he was impressed by the students’ work. “It was clear from my interaction with them that they had learned a lot about research,” he said.

“Programs like this are important in that they immerse students in research in a way that is not possible while they are taking their regular courses. This exposes them to career options that they may not have known or thought about,” he said.

The Summer Biomedical Research Program was started as a tool to recruit students into ECU’s medical programs. It was initiated by the Vice Chairs of Diversity Initiatives, an organization that serves as an advisory board to the senior associate dean for the Division of Academic Affairs at the Brody School of Medicine.

The group seeks additional funding for the programs to enable expansion of the student groups in future years. For additional information, contact Dr. Rukiyah Van Dross at

This page originally appeared in the Nov. 3, 2008 issue of Pieces of Eight. Complete issue is archived at