First-year student presents research to USG Board of Regents

Fist-year medical student Donya Jackson is a rare find. Before beginning her journey in medical school, the San Jose, California native already completed her Ph.D.

“I chose to become a future MD/Ph.D. because I want to be a leader in the field of clinical trials, where I can ensure the introduction of new and innovative therapeutics and treatment strategies to improve the health of patients,” said Jackson. “I am passionate about discovering and/or developing new solutions to improve diseases.”

Jackson received her undergraduate degree from Utah State University, her master’s at Ohio University, and then made her way to the University of Georgia for her Ph.D. Her Ph.D. is from the College of Pharmacy and is in clinical and experimental therapeutics with a focus on inflammation, particularly in stroke and dementia.

In April of 2019, Jackson entered her thesis, Re-balancing the Diabetic Brain to Prevent Dementia, into the UGA Three Minute Thesis competition.

“The thesis looked at the impact of comorbid diseases on stroke outcomes, specifically focusing on how diabetes worsens the development of post-stroke cognitive impairment,” said Jackson. “I also tested the re-purposing of a therapeutic currently in clinical trials to prevent this development.”

By the end of the competition, Jackson had been awarded second place.

For her second-place finish, Jackson not only won prize money, but she also got to present her thesis to the Board of Regents and presidents from the Universities of Georgia.

The presentation took place on October 16 at the University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education.

Jackson said giving her presentation to such an esteemed crowd was an honor that she truly enjoyed.

“It felt great! I enjoy giving talks, so I was excited and honored to share my science with them,” said Jackson.

Along with her presentation, Jackson got to attend the President’s Luncheon where she networked with the Regents, UGA President Jere Morehead, and former Atlanta mayor, Kasim Reed. She also mentioned the AU/UGA Medical Partnership to the group and expressed how excited she was to be at the Athens campus.

“I expressed that I loved UGA so much that I stayed to attend medical school here,” said Jackson.

And Jackson’s work was not done yet—on February 21, she made the trip to the Regents’ Scholarship Gala at the St. Regis Hotel in Atlanta. She networked with presidents from Georgia universities and elected officials while discussing first-generation scholarship programs and programs advocating mental health awareness in young children.

“I’m excited to be here, and I hope I made the Partnership proud,” said Jackson.

For more information about attending the Medical College of Georgia at the Medical Partnership campus

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