First Year Scholars

First Year Scholars

Dr. Laurence Black

Dr. Laurence Black

Dr. Laurence Black received a BS in Microbiology from University of Georgia in 2015 anda PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2019. Dr. Black is currently performing postdoctoral research under the mentorship of Robin Lanzi, Professor of Health Behavior in the School of Public Health elucidating the impact of COVID-19 and racial injustice on graduate student and postdoctoral behavioral outcomes.
Dr. Bobby Jones

Dr. Bobby Jones

Dr. Bobby Jones received a BS in Biology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2010, an MA in Biology from Fisk University in 2014, and a PhD in Microbiology from Meharry Medical College in 2021. Dr. Jones is performing his postdoctoral research under the mentorship of Jennifer Pollock, Professor of Medicine, investigating circadian rhythms with a western diet and how this may cause alterations in redox and metabolic mechanisms resulting in vascular damage.
Dr. Annesha King

Dr. Annesha King

Dr. Annesha King received a BS in Biology from the University of the Virgin Islands in 2014 and a PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2021. Dr. King is performing her postdoctoral research under the mentorship of Nicole Riddle PhD, Associate Professor of Biology, elucidating chromatin structure in Drosophila.
Dr. Bre' Minnifield

Dr. Bre' Minnifield

Dr. Bre’ Minnifield received an MS in Biology from Virginia State in 2015 and a PhD in Genetics from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2021. Dr. Minnifield is performing her postdoctoral research under the mentorship of Nicole Riddle, PhD, Associate Professor of Biology, examining the intersection of exercise biology, genomics, and quantitative genetics in the context of aging.
Second Year Scholars

Second Year Scholars

Dr. Lisa Antoine

Dr. Lisa Antoine

Dr. Lisa Antoine received a BS in Electrical Engineering from Mississippi State University in 1990 and an MS in Electrical Engineering from North Carolina A&T University in 1993. In 2020, she was awarded a PhD in Interdisciplinary Engineering from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dr. Antoine is now performing her postdoctoral research under the mentorship of Burel Goodin, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychology, developing advanced analytics for neural imaging.
Dr. Antoine has selected Dr. Tracey Wilson, Professor of Natural Science at Lawson State Community College, as her MERIT Teaching Mentor.

Dr. Taylor Buchanan

Dr. Taylor Buchanan

Dr. Taylor Buchanan received a BS in Physical Activity and Health in 2014 and an MS in Exercise Science in 2015, both from Auburn University. In 2020, she was awared a PhD in Applied Physiology and Kinesiology from the University of Florida. Dr. Buchanan is performing her postdoctoral research under the mentorship of Thomas Buford, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine, elucidating mechanisms of exercise and aging. In addition to her research efforts, Dr. Buchanan was a founding member of the UAB Black Postdoctoral Association and served as a poster judge for the 2020 ABRCMS Virtual Conference.
Dr. Buchanan has selected Dr. Melissa Richardson, Associate Professor of Biology at Oakwood University, as her MERIT Teaching Mentor.

Dr. Kasi McPherson

Dr. Kasi McPherson received a BS in Biology from the University of Louisiana in 2010 and an MS in Medical Sciences from Mississippi College in 2011. In 2017, she was awared a PhD in Pharmacology and Toxicology from University of Mississippi Medical Center. Dr. McPherson is performing her postdoctoral research under the mentorship of Brittany Lasseigne, PhD, Assistant Professof ro Cell, Developmental and Integrative Biology, utilizing multipdimensional gemomic data and bioinformatics in disease modeling. 
Dr. McPherson has selected Dr. Heather Tinsley, Associate Professor of Biology at University of Montevallo, as her MERIT Teaching Mentor.
Third Year Scholars

Third Year Scholars

Dr. Matthew Madison

Dr. Matthew Madison

Dr. Matthew Madison received a BS in Biology from Southeastern University in 2013 and received a PhD in Translational Biology and Molecular Medicine from the Baylor College of Medicine in 2019. Dr. Madison is performing his postdoctoral research under the mentorship of Dr. Amit Gaggar, Professor of Medicine, investigating the role of neutrophil-derived proteolytic exosomes in smoke-related inflammation and pulmonary damage.
Dr. Madison is continuing his teaching instruction with Dr. Brett Noerager, Professor of Biology at the University of Montevallo. In this role, Dr. Madison has served as a guest lecturer for Human Anatomy and Immunology courses at Montevallo.
Dr. Christina Morra

Dr. Christina Morra

Dr. Christina Morra received a BS in Genetic Engineering from Cedar Crest College in 2011 and, in 2019, was awarded a PhD in Molecular and Biomedical Science from the Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Morra is now performing her postdoctoral research under the mentorship of Dr. Sami Raut, Associate Professor of Biology, examining new approaches toward active learning in STEM education.
Dr. Morra is continuing her teaching instruction with Dr. Steven LaiHing, Associate Professor of Chemistry, at Oakwood University. In this regard, she has served as guest lecturer for General Chemistry (for majors) and General Microbiology. For her teaching efforts, Dr. Morra received the ‘Inclusive Teaching and Research Project Idea Award’ from the Inclusive Environments and Metrics in Biology Education and Research (iEMBER) Network .
Dr. Ninecia Scott

Dr. Ninecia Scott

Dr. Ninecia Scott received BS degrees in Biology and Pharmaceutical Science from North Carolina Central University in 2013. She was awarded a PhD in Molecular Microbiology  and Microbial Pathogenesis  from Washington  University in 2019. Dr. Scott is performing her postdoctoral research under the mentorship of Dr. Carlos Orihuela, Professor of Microbiology, elucidating the role of neutrophils in severe pneumococcal infections.
In addition to her research efforts, Dr. Scott served as the founding President of the UAB Black Postdoctoral Association and was also an active member of the Black Microbiologist Association. She was recognized as a 2021 1,000 Inspiring Black Scientist in America (rising star) by Cell Mentor and as a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Postdoctoral 2021 Awardee
Dr. Scott is continuing her teaching instruction with Dr. Elaine Vanterpool, Professor and Chair of Biology, at Oakwood University. To this end, she has served as guest lecturer for the General Microbiology course at Oakwood.
Fourth Year Scholars

Fourth Year Scholars

Dr. Will Ryan

Dr. Will Ryan

Dr. Will Ryan received a BS in Environmental Biology in 2007 and an MS in Biology in 2010 from California State University. He was awarded a PhD in Biology from Florida State University in 2017. Dr. Ryan is performing his postdoctoral research under the mentorship of Dr. Stacey Krueger-Hadfield, Assistant Professor of Biology, elucidating mechanisms that drive eco-evolutionary mutations within a cancerous tumor at the cell-level.
In addition to his research efforts, Dr. Ryan was co-founder of the Florida State University Alumni Advisory Board for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
Dr. Ryan is continuing his teaching instruction with his MERIT Teaching Mentor, Dr. Christine Sestero, Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Montevallo and MERIT Scholar Alumnus. In this regard, he served as the Instructor of record for the Introduction to Biology for Non-Majors online/remote course in the Fall 2020 semester at Montevallo. Dr. Ryan also continued directing the Undergraduate Research Journal Club online for the UAB Department of Biology.