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For 11 weeks each summer, the Danforth Center welcomes undergraduate students from across the country as part of our Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) internship program sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Many of the students in our program attend smaller colleges and universities that are unable to offer hands-on research experience. An REU internship at the Danforth Center allows those students to access new opportunities in the lab and gain experience using a variety of technologies. REU interns conduct a research project, interface with our Principal Investigators, participate in career pathway discussions and attend weekly seminars and workshops. For many of our scientists at the Danforth Center, an REU internship helped shape their current career in plant science.
Amal Hamed University: Washington University in Saint Louis Danforth Center Lab: I am a part of the Bart Lab this summer studying "The effect of Temperature on the Sorghum-Xanh interaction" Big problem she hopes to solve one day: As of right now, I am hoping to get my MD/PhD and I would love to find more ways to implement 3D printing and bioinformatics in the healthcare field. Favorite experience at the Danforth Center: I love getting to know the people at Danforth Center. Everyone is so friendly and they all have smiles on their faces. It's an environment filled with learning and fostering relationships. What she hopes to learn this summer: I came in with very limited bench work experience, so I hope to grow my set of skills throughout this summer.
Zach Traylor University: Truman State University Danforth Center Lab: I work in the Umen Lab working on the cytological and genetic characterization of the Lag mutant in Volvox carteri. Big problem he hopes to solve one day: I hope to one day fully flesh out the mechanisms by which plants evolved to leave the aquatic environment and become the most prevalent group in the terrestrial world. Favorite experience at the Danforth Center: My favorite experience here has been working with the confocal microscope and understanding how we can use it to take high-definition images of specific processes going on in plants. What he hopes to learn this summer: I hope to get a better understanding of how a formal lab operates and carries out research to better society.
Patricia Leyva University: California State University, Long Beach Danforth Center Lab: I’m working in the Kellogg Lab researching histological and gene expression analyses of abscission zone (AZ) development in a variety of grass species. Big problem she hopes to solve one day: My goal is to help improve sustainable agriculture. Favorite experience at the Danforth Center: My favorite experience so far at the Danforth Center has been the scientific retreat. I enjoyed learning about the work of others in the Danforth Center research community. What she hopes to learn this summer: This summer I hope to learn more about grass AZ diversity. I am also excited to learn new lab techniques and broaden my scope of research.
Abbi Dingus University: Ashland University Danforth Center Lab: I am in the Proteomics and Mass Spectrometry Lab working with Mass Spectrometry to identify and quantify Inositol phosphates. Big problem she hopes to solve one day: I hope to feed the world as a result of my life and research. Favorite experience at the Danforth Center: The best part of being at the Danforth Center is meeting other interns and making connections with brilliant scientists and researchers. What she hopes to learn this summer: I hope to learn all there is to know about mass spectroscopy since it is a very important technology.
Alexander Liu University: Cornell University Danforth Center Lab: I am in the Baxter Lab, using systems biology approaches to understand water deficit response in two related C4 grasses. Big problem he hopes to solve one day: I would like to work on predicting and preventing the destructive spread of plant diseases. Favorite experience at the Danforth Center: My favorite experience so far has been getting to know the interns and learning about all the interesting research the different labs conduct at the Danforth Center. What he hopes to learn this summer: I would like to learn how to use computational methods and tools to process experimental data in order to answer biological questions.
Elizabeth De Meyer University: Cornell University Danforth Center Lab: I am in the Carrington Lab, working on characterizing the molecular mechanism for CBSV VPg association with cassava eIF4E-susceptibility factors. Big problem she hopes to solve one day: Upon earning a B.S. in Plant Sciences, I will pursue a Ph.D. to develop plant varieties directed toward sustainable crop production. I hope to apply my knowledge towards researching and developing plant varieties with new traits or tolerance to adverse conditions. These advances can benefit agriculture and the world by reducing agricultural inputs and increasing land use efficiency. Favorite experience at the Danforth Center: Learning a new protocol and using it in an experimental procedure to make a discovery is foundational to the rest of my project this summer. What she hopes to learn this summer: I hope to learn molecular lab techniques that I can use to answer a diverse range of questions throughout my future career as a plant scientist.
Danny Greenblatt University: University of Michigan Danforth Center Lab: I’m working in the Zhang Lab analyzing phenotypic and genotypic connections of different mutant strains of green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Big problem he hopes to solve one day: I want to solve the future food problem. Similar to the early 1900s before inexpensive mass fertilizer production was invented, humans are approaching a situation in that the world won’t be able to produce enough food for more than 10 billion people. I hope to make a significant contribution to the solution. Favorite experience at the Danforth Center: My favorite experience has been the Scientific Retreat because it was a good opportunity to build relationships with Danforth Center scientists. What he hopes to learn this summer: I hope to learn more about the lab experience and advanced lab techniques that I can apply in future lab positions.
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