Columbia College senior Brian Lewis was recognized in November at The Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students for his poster presentation on "Combination of Chitosan and Dextran as a Novel Gene Delivery System."
The Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students is the largest, professional conference for biomedical and behavioral students. It attracts about 3,300 individuals each year and more than 1,400 students participate in poster and oral presentations. All undergraduate student presentations are judged, and those receiving the highest scores in each scientific discipline and in each educational level are given an award. Lewis received an award in the field of Chemistry.
Lewis, who is majoring in biochemistry and economics and is pre-med, said he believe his success is a reflection of Columbia's commitment to scientific education. He said his professors have served as mentors and role models over the past few years, and have instilled in him a passion and love for the sciences. His education, he said, prepared him to answer challenging questions posed by judges at the conference.
“To receive an award at this conference means that you have excelled in academic research. Beyond that, to be a recipient of such a prestigious award places you into a very selective category of students recognized as the best and brightest up-and-coming young minds of their generation,” he said. “As a minority scientist, a student at Columbia University, and one of the biggest advocates of research, I am honored to be included in such an esteemed group.”
Lewis is a former present and acting senior advisor to the Charles Drew Premedical Society at Columbia University, an organization dedicated to mentoring and encouraging minority and non-minority students to pursue a career in medicine, which he helped establish on campus. He is also involved in Black Students Organization, the National Society of Black Engineers, and the Chandler Society, and is working as a student researcher under Chemistry Professor Wei Min.
At the 2011 conference, which took place from Nov. 9 to Nov. 12, in St. Louis, Lewis gave a poster presentation on his work with two polymers, Chitosan and Dextran, which have been of interest in the field of pharmaceutical chemistry. Chitosan, Lewis said, has been shown to have many applications in the medical field, including use as a healing agent. Lewis also received a full travel grant to participate in the conference.