"I applied to the Scholars program to support a project that I started working on at the beginning of my freshman year. Being a University Scholar has really helped me learn and cement molecular biology techniques that will be useful to me for the rest of my career. There is still much that I hope to learn about genetics and about my field in general as the year progresses. Working in the lab has reinforced my schoolwork in ways I did not imagine it could. This year, I would like to finish up my strawberry mutant project and have it published."
Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology
I am fascinated by plant biology. My research interests involve studying genetic variants of strawberry and also exploring genes in strawberry of which we are still unsure of the function.
Hobbies and Interests
- Knitting, reading, bike-riding
Characterizing a Strawberry Leaf Morphology Mutant
I am studying a strawberry (fragaria vesca) plant that was chosen from a group of seedlings that were mutagenized with Ethyl methanesulfonate because of its interesting leaf morphology. When compared to a wild type strawberry leaf, this plant has less marginal serration, more trichomes (leaf hairs), and does not correctly separate into three lobes. I am using the candidate gene approach to try to determine where in the plant's genome its mutation has occurred. This entails making an educated guess on what the gene may be, in this case it is the KNOX family of genes, and testing to see whether that guess is correct. The strawberry is an important member of the plant family Rosaceae-- which includes many agriculturally significant crops such as apples, peaches, raspberries and cherries. Strawberry is an ideal model organism for this family because the others can be extremely difficult to grow in a laboratory setting. This is what makes closely studying genetic variance in strawberry important and my project relevant to agriculture today.