Jan 05, 2022 | Science, Technology and Math , Inspiring Success , Academics , Featured , Student Success

Columbia State Biology Research Students Place First at Research Conferences

Columbia State Biology Research Students Place First at Research Conferences

Columbia State Community College students led by Dr. Elvira Eivazova recently won first place in Phage Microbiology and Genomics at the Tennessee Association of Science Department Chairs Research Symposium. 

Columbia State biology research program students Adrianna Sasser and Annaleisa Matzirakis both gave oral presentations at the virtual TASDC Research Symposium and Competition on November 19. Sasser and Matzirakis each won 1st place in the microbiology and genetics sections, respectively. Matzirakis gave a presentation titled, “The Utility of tRNA Genes in Bacteriophages.” Sasser gave an oral presentation titled, “The Presence of tRNA Genes in A1 Subcluster Mycobacteriophage Dussy,” and was also awarded 1st place in microbiology at the 131st annual Tennessee Academy of Science meeting held on November 6 hosted by Tennessee Tech University. 

“Adrianna Sasser is a student in my honors biology research class and Annaleisa Matzirakis is a student in my introduction to biology research class,” said Dr. Elvira Eivazova, Columbia State associate professor of biology. “Both students are working on the bacteriophage discovery and bacteriophage genomics project as part of our research class activities, conducted in partnership with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Science Education program. Specifically, our research work this semester was focused on genomic analysis of a newly discovered bacteriophage, as well as the role of tRNA genes in bacteriophage lifecycles.” 

The Tennessee Academy of Science, an affiliate of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, seeks to promote scientific research in the state of Tennessee. As a nonprofit organization, TASDC’s goal is connecting science practitioners, educators and students. They also work to diversify the science field by associating with the public and members of other academic arenas. The virtual conference was held for Tennessee universities and community colleges at Walters State Community College and sponsored by Virginia Research Institute. 

“Results of our semester work have been submitted to HHMI for quality control to be published to the National Center for Biotechnology Information,” Eivazova said. “It took a lot of effort, and the students did an excellent job. I am very proud of them." 

For more information on the Tennessee Association of Science Department Chairs, visit www.tasdc.org. 

The Columbia State biology department has two courses with discovery and project-based research components, Honors General Biology and Biology Research, which are conducted in collaboration with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The courses are designed to provide an authentic research experience for students with little to no prior lab skills. For more information, visit www.ColumbiaState.edu/UndergradResearch

For more information about the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, visit https://www.hhmi.org/science-education/programs/science-education-alliance.

Pulaski resident Adrianna Sasser
Pulaski resident Adrianna Sasser


Franklin resident Annaleisa Matzirakis
Franklin resident Annaleisa Matzirakis