Three international students will make history Saturday, May 7 as the first graduates of ASU’s microbiology Ph.D. program.

Alabama State University will award its first doctorate degrees in microbiology during its 283rd Commencement Exercises on Saturday, May 7.

International students Praseetha Subbarayan (Chennai Tamilnadu, India), Seyhan Boyoglu-Barnum (Istanbul, Turkey) and Murtada Taha (Elgeniena, Sudan) completed requirements to receive a Ph.D. in microbiology. They conducted original scientific research under the supervision of the program’s faculty, developed strong experimental design and scientific writing skills, and built a “contemporary microbiological studies knowledge base” that has prepared them to compete across the microbiology fields.

“These three talented new scientists have been rigorously prepared and highly trained through the execution of their original research studies at ASU,” said Dr. Karyn Scissum Gunn, chair, Department of Biological Sciences and graduate program officer/coordinator of the College of Science, Mathematics and Technology graduate programs. “They have tested new vaccine systems, examined ways to use new nanomaterials to deliver drug molecules within the body, and applied cutting-edge technology toward reducing childhood respiratory viruses.”

After receiving their degree, the graduates will continue their research and education, as well as work in the community. Barnum, who has been featured in several prominent ASU advertisements, has accepted an appointment at Emory University as a postdoctoral research fellow. Subbarayan will continue her research on vaccine development against respiratory viruses in collaboration with Dr. Shree Singh and his ASU research team. Murtada is pursuing his interest to serve as a state public health scientist.

“We have been most richly fortunate to have had the opportunity to help prepare them for their futures,” Gunn said.

In the fall of 2008, ASU began offering the Ph.D. program in microbiology. It serves as the University’s first science-based research doctoral program. The ultimate vision of the program is to make essential scientific and societal advancements for the benefit of the state of Alabama, southeast region, nation and global science arena through the operation of a unique new doctoral research and training program. Through the courageous efforts of the plaintiffs in the now landmark Knight v. Alabama decision, ASU was awarded the rightful opportunity to develop high-level academic programs like the Ph.D. in microbiology, the Ed.D. in educational leadership, policy and law, and the clinical doctorate in physical therapy.

Gunn said the doctoral program in microbiology will serve as an important step in the evolution of the University as it thrusts forward as a globally competitive graduate education and research institution of higher learning.

“Every commencement, ASU advances its mission by producing graduates prepared to make meaningful professional contributions within their fields of study,” Gunn said. “On Saturday, May 7, 2011, we will witness a powerful example of the transformation of Alabama State University – this is indeed a great time to be a Hornet.”



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