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Center for Root & Rhizobiome Innovation Research Hosts

funding through Nebraska Track 1 NSF grant

2019 HSR group

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

Project Description: Project characterizes how environmental stress affects plant metabolism by processing plant samples. Students will analyzing and interpreting metabolic profiles of plant samples. The objective is to determine how the plant is being affected by the stress at the metabolic level, and identifying possible interventions to improve stress tolerance.

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.

Other High School Research Experiences

 funding through NSF projects

2019 Research Fair

Dr. Marc Libault, Agronomy & Horticulture (UNL)

Project Description: The Libault lab in interested in characterize the unique use of the plant genome by the different cell composing the plant. To better understand how two plant cells having different biological function differentially use the same DNA molecule, the Libault lab use single cell molecular technologies. Interested students will validate the differential activity of selected plant genes by applying molecular, cellular, and microscopic biotechnologies on various model systems (e.g., Arabidopsis, soybean). 

Dr. James Schnable, Agronomy & Horticulture (UNL)

Project Description: Projects for high school students in the summer of 2021 would include either training convolutional neural nets to measure plant traits from photos of plants, or collecting phenotype information (measurements) from sorghum and maize plants grown in the field and using this data, combined with public marker data to conduct a genome wide association study to identify some of the genes controlling the target trait.

Dr. Jeffrey Mower, Agronomy & Horticulture (UNL)

Project Description: The Mower lab is interested in understanding the evolution of gene function. Interested students would take part in ongoing projects using various model systems (tobacco, Arabidopsis, ferns, green algae) to assess the functional diversification of enzymes involved in post-transcriptional processing of plant mitochondrial and plastid transcripts. 

Dr. Ryan Wong, Biology (University of Nebraska - Omaha)

Project Description: Many factors influence learning and memory capabilities. In this project, a student will assist in conducting experiments aimed to investigate what influences learning and memory. It will involve learning how to design and implement computer-assisted behavioral cognition assays and analyses using zebrafish

Essential Information

Who's Eligible?

Must be 16 years old, 10th or 11th grader of the current year applying, Must be a Nebraska resident. Must be a US citizen OR have proof of employment authorization

Commuter ONLY

No residential housing options

Hourly Wage

Researchers will be paid $9/hour for 35-40 hours per week for up to 8 weeks.

Research Interest Areas

Biology, Plant Science, Agronomy and Horticulture, Biochemistry and more 

Applications require teacher recommendations

Positions are extremely limited!

Supervision and Safety

Safety is our number one concern and HS researchers will receive thorough training and will be supervised during their daily work.

Announcements & Key Dates

Jan | 01 Applications available online
Mar | 20 HS Researcher applications & teacher recommendations DUE
Apr | 05 HS Researcher selection notifications sent via e-mail.