"I began my research experience the summer after my freshmen year at the citrus molecular biology and biotechnology lab in the horticulture department. Needless to say, I found the world of research fascinating. Having worked for almost three years with my mentors Dr. Moore and Dr. Kamps has given me the opportunity to apply what I learn in my undergraduate courses to a real life scientific setting. I previously received the HHMI science for life award and USP gave me the opportunity to continue my research project into a more in-depth analysis. My goals for the academic year are to acquire viable transformant citrus plants that display characteristics of early flowering and to further understand the role that Flowering Locus ptFT plays in this process."
Natural Resource Conservation
Genetics and molecular biology of plants, placing emphasis on providing research findings that will lead to improvements in agricultural biotechnology. Also, new techniques for tissue culture in the laboratory.
- Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Science For Life Research Award
- Bright Future Scholar
- Florida Opportunity Scholarship Blood Drive Service Scholarship
- UF Wakeboarding Club
- Doctors Without Borders
- Oasis Mentorship Program
- University Minority Mentoring Program
- Hispanic Student Association
Shands emergency room, Shands orthopedic center hand surgery unit, Relay for Life
Hobbies and Interests
- Wakeboarding, surfing, flag footbal, soccer, road trips and exploring forests.
Biological Effects of Heterologous Flowering Locus T Gene (PtFT1) in Citrus
It is the objective of this research to explore reproductive biology by looking at specific genes that are essential for reproduction in flowering plants. In this case it would be the Flowering Locus T (FT) gene, which would be used to manipulate the production of the FT protein with the purpose of inducing flowering. In citrus, the first flowering can normally take up to ten years to occur, and subsequently is influenced by environmental cues. The small protein encoded by the FT (Flowering Locus T) gene travels through the phloem, to the apical meristems, where it promotes flowering. This FT protein is also believed to be the long distance flowering signal known as florigen. One of the poplar orthologs of the Arabidopsis Flowering Locus T (FT) gene is the PtFT1 gene. In the past year, the HHMI Science for life program at the University of Florida made the first phase of this project possible. We were able to acquired two constructs that were made from cDNA of the PtFT1 gene in order to assess the effect of a heterologous gene for inducing precocious flowering in citrus. One construct places PtFT1 behind a constitutive promoter while the other is behind an inducible promoter. After having completed this first phase of the experiment, we must test the effectiveness of poplar FT in promoting flowering in citrus by performing several transformation experiments that include using invitro germinated seeds and cotyledons. . The determination of flowering time, and many other biological factors that can lead to conclusions about the role of FT in plants and the biological reproduction of plants can also be determine from the outcome of this research. This project is promising and it will hopefully give viable results that can lead to great outcomes in the citrus industry.