Thriving in Science

A student speaking with a faculty member.
Kiserian Jackson '18 explains his team's study of hemocytic neoplasia, a disease that affects hard clams, to Karen Bilotti (left), associate director for RWU's Tutorial Support Service, at RWU's fifth annual Student Academic Showcase and Honors.

Kiserian Jackson, RWU Class of 2018

Major:  Biology

Even before Kiserian Jackson, from Brockton, Massachusetts, was one of nineteen Roger Williams University students who presented scientific research projects at the 10th Annual Rhode Island Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows (SURF) Conference, he had been recognized by RWU as a young leader capable of accomplishing great things.

In 2014, Jackson was selected as a recipient of RWU’s Intercultural Leadership Ambassador Program & Scholarship, which provides a full-tuition scholarship to students from diverse backgrounds who demonstrate great academic and leadership potential. ILAPS, through its financial and personal support, has allowed him to thrive at RWU and take full advantage of the opportunities he's come across here, such as his experience as a SURF fellow.

There, Jackson conducted PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing of eastern oysters infected with a common bacterium (Vibrio parahaemolyticus) that can be pathogenic to humans who consume raw oysters. Together with RWU Professor Roxanna Smolowitz and RWU Aquatic Diagnostic Laboratory Technician Abbey Scro, he investigated whether oysters infected with three common diseases — Dermo, MSX, and SSO — are more prone to accumulate more of the bacteria (Vibrio parahaemolyticus) than an uninfected or mildly infected oyster, to help inform the state’s Shellfish Management Plan.

The experience required full-time lab work, he says, allowing him to get first-hand experience and has helped prepare him for post-graduate studies and a career in science. He is starting a Ph.D. program in molecular and cell biology at UMass-Amherst.