Mississippi Strong: UMMC teams with Murrah High School for the Base Pair Program

Students get hands on experience working with doctors at UMMC in Jackson

Mississippi Strong Ummc program

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Breaking down DNA, studying brain tumors, and a better flu vaccine are just some of the things students from Murrah High School in Jackson are studying.

Students from Murrah High School prepare for experiments at UMMC with the Base Pair Program. (Source: WLBT)
Students from Murrah High School prepare for experiments at UMMC with the Base Pair Program. (Source: WLBT)

Doctors work with the students through the Base Pair program at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

These students are Mississippi Strong and preparing for their future.

The Base Pair program began in 1992 at UMMC. Dr. Rob Rockhold has been a part of the program from the beginning.

Dr. Rockhold said, "they will put their hands on the test tubes, they will pipe it, they will work the computer, they will do everything that a fully functioning scientist does on a daily basis."

Students from Murrah High School team up with doctors to learn, research and get hands on experience in a lab.

Dr. Stephen Stray said, "it really has made a big difference in a lot of lives. We've had students who've come through this program who are now practicing as dentists, and as physicians and doing other things that they may have never even considered as career opportunities because they got this exposure."

Three of those students are working on various research.

Students are researching everything from the flu virus to DNA and brain cancer. (Source: WLBT)
Students are researching everything from the flu virus to DNA and brain cancer. (Source: WLBT)

Kilando Chambers said, "it kind of brings up the DNA. There's a ladder that it has to go through and the smaller the DNA is the further down it goes and it shows you how much DNA is within the samples that you have."

Maggie Jefferis is a senior at Murrah. She said, "I spent the entire summer creating 3-D models that show you like physically how the flu B changes over the past year."

Evan Morrisey, a junior at Murrah said, "we've been working on using the influenza C virus to try to treat cancer in the brain."

Kilando Chambers is a senior at Murrah who is heading to Harvard.

Chambers told us, "there's a lot of connection involved with Base Pair. And there's also a lot of responsibility and also the scientific things have helped me to kind of decide what I do and don't want to do in life."

The success of the program includes a 100 percent graduation rate, over $3 million awarded in scholarships last year alone, students have been accepted into every Ivy league school in the nation and over 25 former students are MDs including five who are currently practicing at UMMC.

Students spend part of their school day at UMMC doing research and conducting experiments with doctors. (Source: WLBT)
Students spend part of their school day at UMMC doing research and conducting experiments with doctors. (Source: WLBT)

The Base Pair program is the recipient of the University of Mississippi Excellence in Community engagement Award and $5,000.

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