Featured Project

Winthrop University

PROJECT TITLE: Molecular Biomedical Research Initiative

The primary goal of the Molecular Biomedical Research Initiative at Winthrop University, one of the largest predominantly undergraduate institutions (PUIs) in South Carolina, is to provide undergraduate students with biomedical research training, engaging them in an active, year-round community of researchers, and preparing them to enter the biomedical/scientific workforce or matriculate into graduate and professional programs. Through the constituent Eagle STEM Scholars Program, Winthrop places particular emphasis on increasing the diversity of the biomedical workforce, by recruiting well prepared students from low-income and historically underrepresented groups, facilitating their transitions into college, their successful attainment of STEM degrees (including meaningful engagement in biomedical research training), and their matriculation into doctoral and professional programs.

For the 2016-2017 funding period, 47 undergraduates participated in summer research training (including 18 from underrepresented groups). Students worked for 8-10 weeks with 15 participating faculty mentors, also attending seminars by visiting speakers and giving on-campus oral and poster presentations on their research. Participating Winthrop faculty and students had nine peer-reviewed manuscripts accepted or published, six of which were biomedical in nature (see below). In addition, at least 37 students presented their work at extramural conferences, including 13 presentations at national/international meetings and 15 presentations in regional venues.

Twelve new Eagle STEM Scholars completed the summer bridge program during 2016-2017 prior to their matriculation as first-semester freshmen, taking courses and building study skills and cohort cohesion. A total of 106 Scholars have been served since 2011, with 89% retention to degree completion and 79% retention in STEM fields. Of 58 current Scholars, 41% are from underrepresented groups and 66% are women.

During 2016-2017, nine more affiliated Winthrop students matriculated into biomedical/STEM Ph.D. programs; three enrolled in MD programs, and two entered biomedical master’s programs.

SC INBRE funds provided wages for students and faculty mentors pursuing summer research, as well as partial support for the Eagle STEM Scholars summer bridge program. Because of SC INBRE funding, Winthrop’s contributions as a pipeline toward a larger and more diverse biomedical workforce will positively impact public health in South Carolina. Participating faculty and students also contribute to scientific knowledge in fields including neuroscience, regenerative medicine, biomechanics/biomaterials, and mathematical biology.

Publication Citation:

Winthrop participant; *Student coauthor

  1. T. Hatkevich, K.P. Kohl, S. McMahan, M.A. Hartmann, A.M. Williams*, and J. Sekelsky. Bloom syndrome helicase promotes meiotic crossover patterning and homolog disjunction. Current Biology 2017, 27, 96-102.
  2. K. Abernathy, Z. Abernathy, K. Brown*, C. Burgess*, R. Hoehne*. Global dynamics of a colorectal cancer treatment model with cancer stem cells. Heliyon. doi:10.1016/j.heliyon.2017.e00247. 10 February 2017.
  3. K. Abernathy, Z. Abernathy, A. Baxter*, M. Stevens*. Global dynamics of a breast cancer competition model. Differential Equations and Dynamical Systems. doi:10.1007/s12591-017-0346-x. 20 January 2017.
  4. E. Birgbauer. Student assisted course design. J. Undergrad Neurosci Educ. 2016, 15, E3-E5.
  5. K.M. Shah, M.M. Stern, A.R. Stern, J.L. Pathak, N. Bravenboer, A.D. Bakker. Osteocyte isolation and culture methods. Bonekey Reports. 2016 (5) Article 838.
  6. T.F. Sumter, L. Xian, T. Huso, M. Koo, Y.T. Chang, T. Almasri, L. Chia, C. Inglis*, D. Reid*, L.M.S. Resar. The high mobility group A1 (HMGA1) transcriptome in cancer and development. Current Molecular Medicine, 2016, 16, 353-393.


February 9, 2018