Pharmacy, Alabama State Partner to Create Summer Diversity Program in Aging Research

Auburn faculty and partners transform east Alabama mathematics education through dedication and funded research initiatives

Dr. Vishnu Suppiramaniam (right) talks with students presenting their research.

In an effort to promote diversity in the research workforce, Auburn’s Harrison College of Pharmacy partnered with Alabama State over the summer to offer the first-ever Summer Diversity Program in Aging Research. The program brought 10 Alabama State students to the Auburn campus over a 10-week period to participate in various research activities related to aging.

Supported by a $1,459,000 grant from the National Institute on Aging, the research and training project will go on for five years with the 2023 edition being the first. Dr. Vishnu Suppiramaniam, professor emeritus from the Harrison College of Pharmacy, and Dr. Manoj Mishra, professor of biology at Alabama State, are the co-principal investigators on the grant. Miles Wiley, a Ph.D. student pursuing the pharmacology option, served as the program coordinator this year.

“This initiative focuses on providing educational modules and research opportunities to underserved students,” said Wiley. “ASU and AU collaborate to leverage their infrastructure and programs, with ASU offering fundamental research training and age-related educational modules during the academic year, and Auburn providing aging research experiences during the summer.”

Dr. Leigh Ann Ross (left), dean of the Harrison College of Pharmacy, engage with students presenting their research.

Ten rising juniors and seniors from Alabama State were selected for the 10-week program that ran from May 14-July 17. During their time on campus, the students assisted in active research in labs. Serving as faculty mentors during the program were Drs. Raj Amin, Murali Dhanasekaran, Amal Kaddoumi, Miranda Reed, and Suppiramaniam.

Students also participated in professional development activities in collaboration with the Auburn Graduate School, including a resume and CV workshop, graduate program counseling, GRE prep workshop, laboratory tours, a networking event and a GEM Fellowship workshop.

“Overall, the ASU-AU program aims to accelerate the development of scientists and health care professionals from underserved backgrounds by offering aging-focused education and research experiences,” said Wiley. “The first year went great and we are excited about the years to come.”