Mason earns ePoster Award at National Conference

News Source
Mizzou Biology

The Division congratulates junior Amara Mason on being awarded an ePoster Award in the microbiology category at this year's Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS). The selection of the winners was based on the quality and presentation of their research.

“I am very honored to have been selected for this award,” shared Mason. “It is reassuring to be recognized for the hard work I have put into my research. It also motivates me to continue with my research in microbiology.”

Mason is conducting research in the lab of Dr. Pamela Brown. The lab studies the cell biology of the bacterial plant pathogen Agrobacterium tumefaciens. This bacterium is naturally resistant to many antibiotics. It also secretes an acidic polysaccharide, called succinoglycan. The function of succinoglycan is largely unknown, but previous studies have demonstrated a role for it in host invasion and acid tolerance. In a poster, titled “Succinoglycan Production Confers Resistance to External Stresses in Agrobacterium tumefaciens,” Mason presented research that suggests succinogylcan serves to protect A. tumefaciens from three external stressors: acids, detergents, and antibiotics.

“I was thrilled to learn that Amara received recognition for her efforts,” shared Jacob Bouchier, who mentors Mason in the lab. “Amara’s work is particularly important in that it clearly links the secretion of succinoglycan to the survival of the pathogen in the presence of three environmental stressors, suggesting an essential role for this sugar in host invasion. Her results expand the functional role for succinoglycan in A. tumefaciens, and we are excited to continue to build on these findings with her.”

The ABRCMS is one of the largest communities of underrepresented minorities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Students attend this conference to present their research, enhance professional development skills, explore graduate schools, and network. 

Watch Mason's e-poster presentation.

Research Areas