Department of BioMolecular Sciences
The University of Mississippi

UM Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (STEMS REU) Program

The objective of the program is to provide educational science research opportunities at the University of Mississippi to undergraduate students who are seeking research experiences and considering a career in research or academia. The program provides students with opportunities to learn about cutting-edge STEM-related topics, develop presentation and communication skills, and practice networking skills, as well as opportunities to explore and develop their interest in cutting-edge STEM-related research. The program aims to educate students beyond lab specifics and nurture students for successful careers in STEM, graduate, and/or professional programs.


STEMS REU 2021 Scholars & Sponsoring Faculty:

Brandon Ashmore – Dr. Nicole Ashpole (Department of BioMolecular Sciences – Pharmacology)

Megan Johnson – Dr. Vitor Pomin (Department of BioMolecular Sciences – Pharmacognosy)

Katie Kreusel – Dr. David Colby (Department of BioMolecular Sciences – Medicinal Chemistry)

Caroline Sturgis – Dr. Kristie Willett (Department of BioMolecular Sciences – Environmental Toxicology)

Madeline Wadsworth – Dr. Gregg Roman (Department of BioMolecular Sciences – Pharmacology)

Charlie Worth – Dr. Jason Paris (Department of BioMolecular Sciences – Pharmacology)

Jiaxin (Leo) Yang – Dr. Hoang Le (Department of BioMolecular Sciences – Medicinal Chemistry)


STEMS REU 2021 Schedule

Man outside, smiling.

Brandon Ashmore

Major: Pharmaceutical Sciences
Expected graduation date: Spring 2023
Project: Physical and molecular effects of aging, such as the age-related reduction in the ability to learn, remember, sleep well, and perform physical tasks.






Woman outside smilingMegan Johnson

Major: B.A. in Biology
Expected graduation date: Fall 2021
Project: Preparation of sulfated galactans extracted from Botryocladia occidentalis, through anion-exchange chromatography. The sulfated galactans will be submitted to controlled mild acid hydrolysis for depolymerization, followed by size fractionation through liquid chromatography, desalting, and structural analyses through polyacrylamide gel electrophoretic and NMR spectroscopy. The red algal sulfated galactans and derivatives will be ultimately used in biological assays involving anticoagulation and viral inhibitions.


Woman smiling in front of a brick wall

Katie Kreusel

Major: B.S. in Pharmaceutical Sciences (minors in biological sciences & chemistry; Early Entry Pharmacy)
Expected graduation date: Spring 2022
Project: Drug discovery and addiction research through studies at the GABAB receptor.






Woman smiling in front of a flowering tree

Caroline Sturgis

Major: Pharmaceutical Sciences (Early Entry)
Expected graduation date: Spring 2024
Project: Multi/trans-generational effects of benzo[a]pyrene.






Dog on the left and woman smiling on the right, posing with the dog

Madeline Wadsworth

Major: B.A. Biology major with minors in Chemistry and Psychology
Expected graduation date: Fall 2021
Project: Investigating neophilic behaviors and exploration habits, using Drosophila melanogaster as the model system.





Man smiling

Charlie Worth

Major: B.A. Biochemistry, Pre-Med
Expected graduation date: Spring 2022
Project: How HIV affects cells in the central nervous system; to study one of the hundreds of molecular components in cannabis to see if it can lead to pain relief in HIV victims, without causing a psychoactive response.






Man outside in front of a tree smiling

Jiaxin (Leo) Yang

Major: Pharmaceutical Sciences (Early Entry)
Expected graduation date: Spring 2022
Project: Therapeutic agents for k- Opioid Receptor Antagonists.