Undergrads make strong showing at Mid-SURE Symposium
The Mid-Michigan Symposium for Undergraduate Research Experiences – or Mid-SURE for short – provides undergraduate researchers, visiting students participating in MSU summer research programs (such as the REU), and other students from select institutions with, “an opportunity for students involved in research and creative activities at Michigan State and select institutions to share their work with their peers, faculty, and external audiences.”
Mid-SURE 2016 took place on July 27 on the 4th floor of Spartan Stadium.
Following is a highlight of some of the participants and their research:
- Samuel Vaitkevicius, from the Brandizzi lab looked at a protein that is vital for an essential defensive mechanism used by plants and animals alike in the face of environmental stressors.
- Thien Crisanto ( visiting from Humboldt State University) and Daniel O'Hagan from the Ducat lab examined how to build and improve synthetic microbial communities that are driven by sunlight by using an organism that has lived for billions of years: cyanobacteria.
- Nicole Haddad (visiting from Purdue University) worked with the Howe lab on research demonstrating the importance of certain chemical compounds towards defending plants against herbivores.
- Ciara Fromwiller and Sean McGuire, from the Kerfeld lab, explored strategies to reengineer a protein structure, found in many bacteria, so it becomes a miniature factory that could create green energy or sustainably produce materials for use in biotechnology fields.
- Olivia Stephens (visiting from Spelman College), from the Montgomery lab, examined plant light receptors and how different parts of the light spectrum affect plant growth and development.
Similar to how chameleons can change colors to blend into their surroundings, cyanobacteria can tune their coloring to better absorb light in different environments.
Plant gene regulation dictates how plants grow under differing environmental conditions, and researchers from the MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory are looking at how different genes control light-dependent processes in Arabidopsis thaliana.
Jianping Hu, professor at the MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory (PRL) and the Department of Plant Biology, received a $900,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study the motility of cellular energy organelles, peroxisomes and mitochondria in particular, along the cytoskeleton in Arabidopsis thaliana.