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MSU biology faculty and student win poster awards at IDeA Conference

news-thumb-debbie-cook.webpDr. Deborah Cook, a postdoctoral research associate in Morehead State’s Department of Biology and Chemistry, and Emma Brock, a senior neuroscience major from Corbin, won awards for their presentation posters at the 2023 Southeast Regional Institutional Development Award Program (IDeA) Conference, held in Columbia, South Carolina, Sept. 15-18.  

Cook is completing her postdoctoral work in the lab of Dr. Janelle Hare, professor of biology. Her poster, “DNA damage response coregulator ddrR is a global regulator in Acinetobacter baumannii 17978,” won the highest-scoring postdoctoral fellow and the highest-scoring bioinformatics poster awards. Acinetobacter baumannii is a bacterium that commonly causes infections in hospital settings, and many strains have gained resistance to most of the antibiotics currently available. Cook is researching whether the genes regulated by the ddrR gene that co-regulates the DNA damage response in this species could be a therapeutic target for treating infections in the future.  

Brock participated in a 2023 KY IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) summer undergraduate research program and performed her research at the University of Kentucky. Her poster, “Assessing the ratio of genotypes in CHD7 zygotic and maternal zygotic mutant in Danio Rerio,” earned an honorable mention in the molecular and cellular biology category.   

“This experience opened my eyes to both working with a different type of research than I am used to and working with different model organisms. I had never worked with zebrafish before, and I really enjoyed learning new techniques in housing and caring for new models,” Brock said. 

 “Due to this experience introducing me to a new type of research and model organism, I feel more prepared to approach different opportunities with confidence of success. It also taught me not to internalize failure and to use that failure to inspire different approaches.”  

To learn more about Cook’s research, email her at or call 606- 783-2295.  

For more information on programs in the Department of Biology and Chemistry, email  or call 606-783-2945. 

Photo caption: Dr. Deborah Cook won two awards for her poster presentation at the IDeA Conference last month. 

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