Brooklyn, NY — Brooklyn College student Kerron Gilford, a senior in the Honors Academy, was the recipient of an Award for Excellence in Biomedical Science for the work he presented at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students in Anaheim, CA, this past November. Gilford, who majors in biology, was one of five Brooklyn College students who presented their research at the conference. A graduate of Far Rockaway High School, Gilford is the first Brooklyn College student to receive an award for his research at the ABRCMS conference, where more than one thousand students from around the country present posters and oral presentations on scientific research they have been involved in.
Gilford is a member of Brooklyn College’s Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) program, funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health, to support college juniors or seniors who intend to pursue Ph.D., M.D.-Ph.D., or other combined Ph.D. degree in biomedical sciences. The prestigious fellowships, which are awarded to only ten Brooklyn College students each year (five juniors and five seniors), were instituted to increase the number of minority professionals in biomedical research. The MARC program offers mentoring, research, and financial support for academically superior students.
Students in the MARC Program are trained for research careers in all areas of biomedical research. Each student chooses a mentor from the science faculty at Brooklyn College who is engaged in research in a field related to his or her interests, but the program also emphasizes having students do summer research at prestigious universities and non-academic research laboratories. Gilford, who studies with Dr. Ray Gavin at Brooklyn College, recently participated in a summer research program with Dr. Edward Thorp of Columbia University as part of a summer internship program run by the Columbia School of Medicine.
Gilford’s research with Dr. Gavin is to find out the role of the MY01 gene within the non-pathogenic, free-living protozoa organism Tetrahymena thermophila. Finding this may also help reveal answers about human diseases associated with the gene. The research with Dr. Thorp, for which Gilford won the award, focuses on testing drugs that are potentially effective in the clearing of dead macrophage cells from blood vessels in order to prevent atherosclerotic maturation. Gilford, who would like to teach biology someday, chose Brooklyn College because of its excellent reputation in the sciences. He is applying to Ph.D. programs for admission next fall.