MVSU student earns top spot for state research paper competition

June 22, 2018

ITTA BENA, Miss.—Derrick Lane II is proof that it’s not where you start that determines where you go, but how you conduct yourself during the journey that can make the most significant difference.

Lane grew up surrounded by crime and poverty in the inner city of Memphis. Despite the odds, he made his way to Mississippi Valley State University, where he graduated magna cum laude in May with a degree in biology.

Lane recently added another feather in his cap—his paper was chosen as the undergraduate winner for the 2018 “Advancing Mississippi” student paper competition.

As a result, he was recently invited to present his work, entitled “Investigating Health Disparities of Prostate Cancer in Mississippi Compared to National Trends,” during the “Advancing Mississippi” conference hosted June 8 in Jackson.

Lane’s paper was an epidemiological analysis of prostate cancer at the national and state levels, with emphasis on racial disparities. As part of the award, he also earned a $300 book scholarship and the opportunity to have his paper published in The Mississippi Economic Review.

“It was a great experience to present my research information about health disparities in Mississippi. I gave insight on what is affecting men’s health in Mississippi especially the Mississippi Delta,” he said.

Lane, an aspiring doctor, said that ultimately his desire is to promote prevention education.

“I want to promote cancer awareness and prevention across the state, and I plan to do further research and partner with people and organizations to bring about the change I would like to see,” he said. 

Because Lane has aspirations of being a medical doctor, he believes it is vital he focuses on issues that affect him directly.

“As a minority, I wanted to focus on things that could directly affect myself and the men in my family. I want to do whatever I can to help people. Oncology is a field I am interested in and something that sparks my interest right now,” he shared. 

MVSU Assistant Professor of Environmental Health Dr. Mark Dugo, who served as Lane’s advisor, said he was proud of Lane and the hard work he has put in to earn this achievement and excited to continue working with him this fall as an Environmental Health graduate student before he heads off to medical school.

“For Derrick’s Master of Science degree, we are planning to have him engage in laboratory activities that will hopefully lay initial groundwork for our future capacity to perform genetic-based screening, using techniques that I am hoping to start working on in the lab this summer on non-human samples,” he said.

The annual “Advancing Mississippi” conference is organized by the University Research Center (URC), a division of Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) and is a unique opportunity for researchers from across the state to present papers addressing long-term economic challenges facing the state. 

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