JSU COVID-19 Research Grant, USM Stadium Plaza Renovation and MSU Dual Degree Program

Jackson State University professor Dr. Paresh Chandra Ray is the grant PI and a researcher in JSU’s College of Science, Engineering and Technology. Photo courtesy JSU

Jackson State University professor Dr. Paresh Chandra Ray is the grant PI and a researcher in JSU’s College of Science, Engineering and Technology. Photo courtesy JSU

The National Science Foundation recently awarded Jackson State University's Department of Chemistry, Physics and Atmospheric Sciences a $200,000 Rapid Response Research grant to develop a new optical technique to detect COVID-19 infection.

The test JSU researchers are developing uses a light-scattering technique on the eye to provide detailed information about a person's genes, such as chemical structure and molecular interactions, as a means of more quickly getting a positive or negative result when testing for the presence of coronavirus, a release from JSU says.

For the test, researchers first take a sample from a patient’s nose or throat using a swab, place it in a tube and send it to a lab, the release says. Researchers send the tube to a laboratory for processing if a hospital doesn’t have a molecular test center. Once processed, lab workers extract the virus' genetic material and mix chemicals with each sample to run into a machine for a positive or negative COVID-19 diagnosis.

JSU's RAPID COVID-19 project also aims to improve the quality of education of minority students at JSU, with a focus on mentoring undergraduate and graduate students, the release says. Previously, the JSU group has developed methods for diagnosing pathogenic viruses and neutralizing parasitic and drug-resistant bacteria.

USM Renovating Stadium Plaza

The University of Southern Mississippi is renovating the University Union/Stadium Plaza on the West side of M.M. Roberts Stadium at the USM Hattiesburg campus. The $2.4 million project, which the state Institutions of Higher Learning board approved, is scheduled for completion by September.

USM's renovated plaza will include a stage area for live music performances, seven 25-foot by 50-foot banners featuring scenes from the Hattiesburg campus, a ramp and seating wall, increased lighting, digital wayfinding, covered bicycle racks, increased outdoor seating and more.

The project will also include a customized Golden Eagle head logo made from colored brick pavers assembled like a jigsaw puzzle at the center of the plaza walkway, a release from USM says.

MSU Dual Degree Program

Mississippi State University recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences to establish a new program that will allow students to earn both an MSU bachelor’s degree in medical technology and a UAMS bachelor’s degree in medical laboratory sciences.

The dual degree program, which equips graduates for careers as medical technologists, begins in the fall of 2020. For certification and licensure, medical technologists must master subjects including hematology, immunology, urinalysis, microbiology, chemistry, parasitology, toxicology, blood banking and transfusion and lab safety and operation, a release from MSU says.

MSU medical technology students will spend their last year of undergraduate studies completing an internship off campus at UAMS and then complete one extra semester at an Arkansas hospital to complete requirements for the additional bachelor’s degree.

The MSU Department of Biological Sciences is online at biology.msstate.edu. For more information about the College of Arts and Sciences, visit cas.msstate.edu. For more information about the new dual degree program, email [email protected].


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