Mercer students stand out at Association of Southeastern Biologists annual meeting

group photo
Twenty-six undergraduate students and five biology faculty members attended the annual meeting of the Association of Southeastern Biologists March 23-26 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Photo courtesy Dr. Sahar Hasim

Mercer University was well represented this year at the annual meeting of the Association of Southeastern Biologists (ASB), held March 23-26 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. 

Twenty-six undergraduate students and five biology faculty members from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences attended the national meeting, where students presented their research through oral or poster presentations, said Dr. Sahar Hasim, assistant professor of biology. 

“Overall, the conference was a great success, providing our students with a valuable opportunity to network and gain exposure to cutting-edge research in the field of biology,” she said. “Our students left the conference feeling inspired and motivated to continue pursuing their passion for biology.”

group photo of people standing
Students in Dr. Sahir Hasim’s lab were among those in attendance at the Association of Southeastern Biologists annual meeting March 23-26 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Photo courtesy Dr. Sahar Hasim

Three students — Bradley Akin, William Dos Santos and Abdulraheem Kaimari — were awarded the John C. Johnson Award for excellence in student research from TriBeta biological honor society at the conference.

Akin and Dos Santo presented their research, “Enhancing Detection of the Multi-Drug Resistant Candida auris by Macrophages through Caspofungin Unmasking the Cell Wall.” Kaimari presented his research “Investigation of the Effect of Novel Anti-biofilm Compounds on Biofilm Production in Staphylococcus aureus Nor-A Wild-type and Mutant Strains.” 

Students Shelby Blanchard and Evan Floyd won the ASB microbiology poster competition. The title of their poster was “Biofilm Inhibition in Staphylococcus aureus Using Small Molecules as Competitive Inhibitors.” 

In addition, Mercer’s TriBeta chapter, led by Floyd as president and advised by Dr. Hasim, won the first-place award for the most delegates. 

Biology faculty who attended the conference were Dr. Hasim; Dr. Linda Hensel, professor; Dr. Michael Moore, professor; Dr. Megan Pannell, assistant professor; and Dr. John Stanga, assistant professor. 

About Mercer University 

Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. With approximately 9,000 students enrolled in 12 schools and colleges, on major campuses in Macon and Atlanta; medical school sites in Macon, Savannah and Columbus; and at regional academic centers in Henry and Douglas counties, Mercer is ranked among the top tier of national research universities by U.S. News & World Report. The Mercer Health Sciences Center includes the University’s School of Medicine and Colleges of Nursing, Health Professions and Pharmacy. Mercer is affiliated with five teaching hospitals – Atrium Health Navicent The Medical Center and Piedmont Macon Medical Center in Macon; Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah; and Piedmont Columbus Regional Hospital and St. Francis-Emory Healthcare in Columbus. The University also has an educational partnership with Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins. It operates an academic press and a performing arts center in Macon and an engineering research center in Warner Robins. Mercer Medicine, the clinical faculty practice of the School of Medicine, is based in Macon and operates additional clinics in Sumter, Peach, Clay, Putnam and Harris counties. Mercer is one of only 293 institutions nationwide to shelter a chapter of The Phi Beta Kappa Society, the nation’s most prestigious academic honor society; one of eight institutions to hold membership in the Georgia Research Alliance; and the only private university in Georgia to field an NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit