Dr. Katarzyna Glowacka, Biochemistry
Project Description: Photosynthesis is a primary engine of productivity in plants. The adverse environmental conditions like low soil fertility, drought and fluctuation in temperatures reduce the efficiency of photosynthesis what diminishes crop production. In this project, the student will grow the plants under a stressful environment to collect a variety of physiological and biochemical measurements. The collected data will be used to better understand how we develop strategies to improve crop productivity under a changeable environment.
Dr. Toshihiro Obata, Biochemistry
Dr. Rajib Saha, Chemical & Bimolecular Engineering
Project Description: The student will work to quantitatively design genetic circuits for the design of Zea mays (known as corn or maize) plants with novel root traits for the refinement of systems-level understanding of the root-rhizobiome system, improvement of plant performance, and the testing of other hypotheses which may arise.
Dr. Tessa Durham Brooks, Biology (Doane University)
Project Title: CSI Root: Collecting 'fingerprints' of chemical exudates of roots to improve plant health
Project Description: Roots secrete (exude) nutrients and other chemicals that can provide important clues regarding their health, much like a urine or blood sample can be used in medicine. In this project, students will join a team of chemists and biologists to develop and use an innovative method for capturing a snapshot of the root exudate 'fingerprint'. The method will be used to better understand how these chemicals help the root attract beneficial microbes (probiotics) that can promote plant health.