Sean McGuire awarded Undergraduate Research Fellowship
Sean McGuire, an undergraduate in the Kerfeld lab, has been awarded the Undergraduate Research Fellowship from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BMB).
The fellowship is given to BMB undergrads who, “[have] attained at least junior standing, [carry] a 3.0 GPA or higher, and are committed to pursuing a career in research. These are students who want to do research, but cannot because of the need to work.”
A junior-level undergraduate student in the BMB department, Sean joined the Kerfeld lab around a year ago when his interest was piqued by their work on cyanobacteria.
“I now conduct research, under my mentor, Dr. Clement Aussignargues (a post-doc in the Kerfeld lab) on miniature compartments that are found in many types of bacteria in nature. We are trying to engineer these isolated compartments, in the lab, so they become nanofactories that produce useful things for society, such as renewable energy or rubber – the latter which currently comes from trees or petroleum.”
“Sean demonstrates a remarkable passion and enthusiasm, not only for the project he conducts, but also for science in general,” Clement, Sean’s mentor, says. “Because of his tremendous dedication and curiosity, this engineering project moves forward at a terrific pace. Having the opportunity to work with a highly motivated and talented young researcher like him is a real pleasure!”
Sean notes his gratitude for the recognition. “I think this award reflects my ability to multitask a highly rigorous course load while conducting research,” he says. “I also plan on attending graduate school, perhaps even here at MSU!”
“Wherever I end up, I want to be able to have an outstanding graduate experience in order to expand my horizons and to acquire the necessary knowledge to carefully design an entire research project. In 10 years, I can picture myself finishing up a post-doctoral position and beginning to start the next chapter of my life in either academia or industry.”
The protein, peroxiredoxin Q, is known to maintain a healthy balance of chemicals and energy levels in chloroplasts. The new research shows the protein also impacts the system that produces chloroplast membranes.
The CAMTA system - which is known to protect plants from cold weather - plays a newly discovered role: when bacteria invade a leaf, CAMTA warns neighboring, unaffected leaves to prepare for invasion.
When algae get stressed, they hibernate and store energy in forms that we can use to make biofuels. Understanding how stress impacts algal hibernation could help scientists lower the cost of biofuels production.