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College of Graduate Studies

Initiative for Maximizing Student Development Program (NIH/NIGMS)

About the Program

IMSD - 2017 - 2018

Group pic


Meet the IMSD Director, Dr. Cynthia Wright

Dr. Wright received a BS in Microbiology from the University of Florida and a PhD in molecular biology from the State University of New York at Albany. She ran an independent research lab for over 15 years, studying transcriptional regulation in yeast and viral systems and the dysregulation of transcription in cancer. In 2006 she accepted an opportunity to assume an administrative role in the College of Graduate Studies at MUSC, where she is currently the Associate Dean for Admissions and Career Development. At present, she is the PI or co-PI on three NIH-funded training grants whose goal is to increase diversity in the biomedical workforce by implementing interventions that help students choose and persist in careers in science. She became a member of the AAMC GREAT group PhD Outreach Committee in 2014 and has enjoyed working with her colleagues to bring workshops and webinars to students with strategies for how to succeed in applying to graduate schools in the biomedical sciences. 


WELCOME to our newest IMSD members!

HeslopKareem Heslop
B.S. from Claflin University
SalasJonathan Salas, Neurosciences
B.S., SUNY at Binghamton
SmithCrystal Smith, Neurosciences
M.S., Kennesaw State University

Current IMSD students:

LashardaiLaShardai Conaway Brown was a student presenter at this year’s EE Just Symposium in Feb and was invited as a guest speaker at Winthrop University as a result of her presentation.  She was awarded an F31 Fellowship in June for her work on the auditory system in the Hanan Lang lab.

ChiomaVivian Chioma traveled to the Gordon conference this summer to present her work.
Lutfiyya Muhammad - Travel award from the MUSC Center for Global Health to do HIV partner testing research in Uganda, Africa in 2016.
YoungBrandon Young was an invited speaker to the MAPRS symposium in Baltimore MD, held at UMBC in May 2017, and he won first place for his platform presentation, entitled “Structural analysis of mutated penicillin-binding protein 2 from a cephalosporin-resistant strain of Neisseria gonorrhoeae”
ZambranoJoelle Zambrano successfully defended her proposal for her PhD.  In the spring, she returned to her alma mater, Highpoint University to give an alumnus talk to her department.

Congratulations to Former IMSD Students

Theresa Cantu successfully defended her dissertation entitled, entitled “Evaluation of Eicosanoids and Fatty Acids to Investigate Inflammation and Oxidative Stress in Sentinel Species”.  She accepted a position as a post doctoral fellow at the University of North Carolina.
DeHartDavid DeHart successfully defended his dissertation, entitled "Antagonizing Tubulin-Dependent VDAC Closure to Revert Warburg Metabolism in Cancer Cells".  He will be starting law school at the College of Charleston this fall as he prepares for his ultimate goal of working in Research policy making.
Description: Pleasant – Chosen as one of 11 UNCF/Merck graduate fellows for 2014!

Link to webpage:

Prince NelsonSybil Prince-Nelson graduated with her PhD in May 2017.  Her dissertation was entitled, ““Classifying and Predicting Disease outcome from continuous and binary predictors and their interactions”.  She is working at the Citadel as a visiting faculty.
TragerIMSD alum Nicole Trager (fourth from left) and her students from Los Medanos Community College at the SACNAS 2015 meeting

Our lively group opted for an air-conditioned room instead of the sun-baked Healing Garden for our Meet and Greet to welcome our newest IMSD students in August.  We enjoyed good food and conversation and being with each other.

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