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July 9, 2015

ACC Students Pioneers Sickle Cell Treatment

When his young niece was diagnosed with Sickle Cell Anemia, Alvin Community College student Bertrand Ebang wanted to learn more about and how to treat it.

Ebang, a native of Bourdeaux, France, began working on an Honors project that centered on diagnosis and treatment of Sickle Cell Anemia using ultrasound technology.

“So far we have treated several patients,” he said.

Ebang’s project won first place at the Gulf Coast Intercollegiate Symposium competition at College of the Mainland on April 24.

“Addressing the use of ultrasound to treat children with sickle cell disease, Bertrand illustrated both excellent scientific skills and application of this technique,” said Elizabeth McLane, Honors Department coordinator. “He has worked for two years in treating patients with this condition.”

To be eligible for the Honors program at ACC, students must have a GPA of at least 3.0 with at least 12 hours, an ACT score of at least 26, an SAT score of at least 1100, graduate in the top 20 percent of their high school class along with approval by the class instructor.

ACC Honors students have presented their research projects at local and national conferences such as the Gulf Coast Intercollegiate Consortium and the Great Plains Honors Council.

Many Honors students presented their projects during the Symposium and they represented ACC’s program well, McLane said.

Other participants included Sara Robertson who presented her project The CSI Effect, which focuses on how the public percieves criminal investigations. Karina Herr presented her research, Beauty is Truly Skin Deep: The True Effect of Cosmetics on the Skin.

“ACC's Honors Program enjoyed the chance to enter the conference,” McLane said.

While Ebang has been a student with the ACC Diagnostic Cardiovascular program, he is also trained as a software programmer. He discovered the field while working with his current employer, which deals with ultrasound technology.

His project highlights methods of ultrasounds for measuring blood flow and other characteristics. Sickle Cell Anemia can be identified through the ultrasound data.

According to the Unites States institute of National Health (NIH), Sickle cell disease is the most common inherited blood disorder in the United States, affecting 70,000 to 80,000 Americans.

Participating in the Honors Symposium was a great experience that will hopefully shed light on the disease and the new method of identifying it. “I was grateful just to have that presence,” Ebang said. “It was just wonderful.”

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