Biology student presents at national genetics conference

Earlier this year, Jovan Brockett ’20 was awarded travel funds to present his Honors thesis research at the Allied Genetics Conference in Washington DC. He is part of a growing number of Oglethorpe students to present research at a national conference.

The Allied Genetics Conference is a national scientific research conference organized by the Genetics Society of America to promote collaborative advancement in the field of genetics. Scientists from across the country participate to display their research and share their ideas.

After the in-person conference was cancelled due to social distancing mandates, TAGC moved to a digital format, allowing presenters to share their research from the safety of their homes. It was through this platform that Brockett was able to present his research to peers from across the country.

Jovan Brockett in the lab with Dr. Charles Baube

Brockett (middle) in the labs in the Cousins Center for Science and Innovation.

Brockett’s presentation was a long time in the making. His research delves into the molecular basis of genetic interactions of enzymes found in c. elegans, a type of nematode often studied to understand biological processes. He was introduced to them during his freshman and sophomore biology classes, where he was asked to do multi-week projects to help him understand nematode husbandry, physiology and genetics.

In his junior year, Jovan was selected to work a paid, apprentice-style internship under Dr. David Katz at the Emory University Department of Cell Biology, as part of a partnership between Oglethorpe and Emory. It was through this internship that he continued his research on c.elegans.

Brockett was recommended for a travel grant for TAGC by Dr. Karen Schmeichel, associate professor of biology at Oglethorpe. She was one of the professors who selected him for his research internship at Emory and oversaw much of his thesis research.

“He is, without any exaggeration, one of Oglethorpe’s finest students in STEM and beyond,” she lauds, “His apprentice-style research experience has given him the final polish that he will need to compete for increasingly competitive spots in Ph.D. and or MD/Ph.D. programs in the future.”

The study of c. elegans is an important part of Oglethorpe’s biology curriculum. Research on these organisms allows students to study biological processes first-hand. With the completion of the I.W “Ike” Cousins Center for Science and Innovation in 2019, STEM students like Brockett have access to state-of-the-art lab environments in which to perform these in-depth studies.

On top of his presentation at TAGC, Brockett presented his biology research, as well as a piano performance, at this year’s virtual Liberal Arts and Sciences Symposium in April.

Having graduated earlier this month, Brockett is leaving Oglethorpe with an impressive resume that sets him apart in a highly competitive field.

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