Mesa College Student wins prestigious award in science competition

Mesa College Student wins prestigious award in science competition

A 26-year-old refugee from Somalia and San Diego community college student has bested some of today’s top scientific student minds in a highly competitive international science competition. Mohamed Musse, one of our four Mesa College students who presented research at the 10th Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS), held in November in Charlotte, North Carolina, was the recipient of a prestigious award for his poster participation.

Mohamed’s research project and poster entry was called "Micro-Purification of Phosphofructokinase-1." His entry competed against 154 research abstracts submitted to ABRCMS in the Biochemical Sciences, Biochemistry category by students from top universities and research institutes. Only twelve awards were given in this category.

Mohamed’s winning entry was based on experience and research he gained during a summer internship working at UCSD under the guidance of Dr. Percy Russell and Anita Williams, who supervised his research. It was in Dr. Russell’s laboratory that Mohamed learned about research, and acquired experience in advanced lab techniques, and purifying proteins in a micro-scale.

The award consists of a gold medallion, a certificate of recognition, and monetary scholarship.

Mohamed is a student at San Diego Mesa College and a scholar in the college’s Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program.

“This is an outstanding achievement and accomplishment for Mohamed, for our College, and for our UCSD research mentors,” said Elizabeth J. Armstrong, interim president of Mesa College.

According to Ed Alexander, Mesa College chemistry professor and Bridges program director, research abstracts were competitively submitted to ABRCMS. Only 150 students from ten unique divisions received poster presentation awards. Of these, only nine were awarded to community college students, and Mohamed’s entry was the only award given to a community college student in the biochemical sciences division. This was the first time a Mesa College student presentation has won an award in that division.

“The accomplishments of Mohamed and all our Bridges students are a tribute to the outstanding quality of education afforded to students by our faculty at San Diego Mesa College,” said Dr. Alexander.

The Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program at Mesa College is a science education program designed to support the success of community college students from underrepresented groups or populations affected by health disparities, who plan to transfer and earn a bachelor's degree in biomedical, behavioral or related sciences (www. The program is funded by National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD).

ABRCMS is the largest professional conference for biomedical and behavior students. This year’s conference attracted approximately 3,100 undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral scientists, faculty and administrators. The conference serves as a key experience for participants, and to the development of young scientists.