Research Day at Meharry: Douglas L. Robinson Jr. Finding His Future

The 57th Annual Research Day, "Multiple Facets of A Diabetologist's Career: A 20 Year Journey," was held Wednesday, March 13, in the Ross Fitness Center.

Meharry Medial College was one of the first medical schools to hold a student research day. The first student research program was held in 1956 in connection with the 80th anniversary of Meharry Medical College. Dr. Charles W. Johnson founded the program and Dr. Landry E. Burgess was its first chairman. Upon Dr. Burgess' retirement, Dr. James A. Pulliam assumed the chair and held it until his untimely passing in January 1991. In 1991, the Student Research Day Committee unanimously voted to name the Student Research Day lecture in memory of Dr. James A. Pulliam. It is now known as the James A. Pulliam Memorial Lecture.

There were 136 poster presentations displayed from students of the School of Graduate Studies and Research, the School of Medicine and the School of Dentistry.

After the abstracts' exhibition, the James A Pulliam Memorial Lecture, followed by the Awards Ceremony, was held in the Harold D. West Basic Sciences Building.

Last year's Research Day Grand Prize winner, Douglas L. Robinson Jr., will graduate from Meharry in 2015 with a dual degree – a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in biomedical sciences. He is one of the few students at Meharry, and across the nation, pursuing both degrees.

Maria de Fatima Lima, Ph.D., Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Research, said individuals with dual degrees in medicine and research are competent in both areas which gives them an advantage in their research efforts and in caring for their patients.

Robinson graduated from the University of Maryland Baltimore County with a degree in biochemistry and molecular biology. His interests after graduation are biomedical research in the fields of neuroscience and pharmacy, brain surgery and to practice in an academic setting as a professor of scientific investigation.

He chose Meharry because of its tradition of helping the underserved populations and because of the emphasis on hands-on training. "Also, Meharry is a premiere institution producing African Americans with Ph.D. degrees in the biomedical sciences," Robinson said.

This year Robinson's abstract was titled: "Pentazocine, a mixed-action κ opioid receptor agonist, induces antinociception in the rat: differential dose response in the male and female."