Student Research Day Continues to Grow with Inclusion of Northwest Campus

By Andrew Vogler


Cam Patterson, M.D., MBA, chancellor and CEO of UAMS Health, was present to view projects at Student Research Day.Andrew Vogler

This year’s event was the first in which the Northwest Regional Campus facilitated participation for its students. Participants at the Fayetteville campus and those unable to attend the event in person were able to view the event’s activities remotely.

“Student Research Day has always been one of my favorite events over the years — it not only provides a showcase for our students to let everyone see the work that they have been pursuing but also highlights the remarkable faculty who mentor them,” said Robert E. McGehee Jr., Ph.D., dean of the Graduate School and distinguished professor in the Department of Pediatrics. “The breadth of the projects is also amazing, literally from the frontlines of community-based research projects to the most minute changes in genetic signaling.”

John D. Carpten, Ph.D., professor and chair of Translational Genomics at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, served as the speaker for the Robert E. McGehee Jr., Ph.D., Distinguished Lectureship in Biomedical Research. A Mississippi native whose parents are from southeast Arkansas, Carpten is an internationally recognized expert in genome science. He possesses unique training in multiple disciplines, including germline genetics for disease risk and predisposition, somatic cancer genomics, health disparities research, cell biology, functional genomics and precision medicine.

“These research days are really important because they are a big part of the trainee experience. Conferences, meetings, symposiums and colloquiums are an opportunity for students to be exposed to a broader spectrum of research, they are a chance for them to network, and of course, they give them a platform to present their research,” said Carpten. “This is a great event — it is clear that there are fantastic people at UAMS, and I am honored to have the opportunity to present.”


John D. Carpten, Ph.D., served as the speaker for the Robert E. McGehee Jr., Ph.D., Distinguished Lectureship in Biomedical Research.Evan Lewis

The McGehee Distinguished Lectureship was created in 2011 from a gift made possible by the late Carl D. and Jeannette Purnell of Pine Bluff. It was the Purnells hope that their gift would benefit UAMS and Arkansas by making it possible to invite leading biomedical researchers to share their knowledge and work with students and faculty.

“When I first talked to the Purnells about permanently coupling the lecture series to Student Research Day, they were immediately on board,” said McGehee.  “Their vision was that it would be a gift that would benefit as many students as possible.  They were remarkable people.”

During the event, students presented research projects that were judged by a panel of professors, with the top research projects receiving awards. Students also took part in the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition in which they displayed one slide from their research and had three minutes to present their thesis and its significance.

The 2023 award winners of Student Research Day include:

The UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute Special Award for Outstanding Cancer Research Project, presented by Thomas J. Kelly Jr., Ph.D.

  • Winner ($100 prize) — Hayley Sabol
  • Runner-up ($50 prize) — Mason McCrury and Matthew Thompson (tie)
  • Postdoctoral winner ($100 prize) — Kirk West, Ph.D.

Bhuvan Award, presented by Kevin D. Raney, Ph.D.

  • Winner ($750 prize) — Jessica Kelliher
  • Second place ($500 prize) — Farhana Taher Sumya
  • Third place ($250) — Matthew Thompson

Three Minute Thesis awards, presented by Antiño R. Allen, Ph.D.

  • First place — Carol Morris
  • Second place — Soumiya Pal

General awards, presented by Antiño R. Allen


  • First place — Aric Anloague
  • Second place — Farhana Taher Sumya
  • Third place — Naiha Ahmad


  • First place — Obeid Shafi, M.D.
  • Second place — Catey Abbott. M.D.
  • Third place — Alex Belote, D.O.


  • First place — Davis Campbell
  • Second place — Delice Kayishunge
  • Third place — Fatimah Al-Doori

Research and Innovation Travel Awards, presented by Shuk-Mei Ho, Ph.D.

  • $500 winner — Aric Anloague
  • $500 winner — Obeid Shafi
  • $500 winner — Davis Campbell

Ho, a professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology and vice chancellor for Research and Innovation, was thrilled with the event’s high participation.

Student Research Day

Student Research Day award winners with event organizers.Andrew Vogler

“Student Research Day is an exciting event for UAMS — it’s not only a reminder of how talented our students and postdocs are but also how hard they work during their time at this institution,” said Ho. “The event is a big effort with students, professors and support staff all contributing to make the day a huge success with unprecedented number of student and faculty participating very special. I want to congratulate all the winners of the Student Research Day competitions and offer a thank you to all the students who presented their research, the faculty who judged the posters and the staff who made this event a success.”

Student Research Day became a campus-wide event in 2008, and the 3 MT competition was added by McGehee in 2017.

“When we started this component about six years ago, I think we had about nine participants, but now with over 70, we are having to conduct 3MT college semifinal heats leading up to the finals. It really is a lot of fun and provides another opportunity for students to participate,” said McGehee. “All of the organizers have been pleased with the growth and inclusion of the event. Student Research Day is truly a campus-wide event and even better now that we have the Northwest Regional Campus engaged in the activities.”