39 North Innovation District Plan Unveiled
The Science in Our Food
Back to Results
Danforth Center part-time laboratory assistant, Ketan Jain-Poster, a senior at Clayton High School, was selected as a top ten finalist at The Academy of Science-St. Louis Science Fair Honors Division competition on February 1, 2014. Ketan was rewarded a $1,000 scholarship for his project, “Mapping QTLs for Popping Ability in a Popcorn x Dent Maize Genetic Cross.”
Ketan’s research focused on the identification of quantitative trait loci (QTL’s) in a large population of recombinant inbred maize lines for popping traits including popping efficiency (PE), popping expansion volume (PEV) and the actual phenotype of the popped kernels. He examined the effect of kernel size and volume on popping ability and importantly, and was able to map several traits to specific locations on the 10 chromosomes in the maize genome. Studies of this type that employ computer-based QTL mapping are important to plant breeders using a technique called marker assisted breeding.
He presented his research and results along with a scientific poster to a panel of judges and will enter his project in the larger Academy of Science - St. Louis Science Fair in May to compete for close to $60,000 in special awards.
In February 2013, Ketan began working after school with the Danforth Center greenhouse staff to grow Setaria viridis, a model C4 grass that is regularly used by Center scientists involved in bioenergy research. He collected seeds from plants that showed interesting phenotypes (characteristics) that affect plant growth and development and their photosynthetic capability.
In July 2013, Ketan began working on his research project under the guidance of Ivan Baxter, Ph.D., USDA Research Scientist and Danforth Center Principal Investigator, and Terry Woodford-Thomas, Ph.D., Sally and Derick Driemeyer Director of Science Education and Outreach at the Danforth Center.
Ketan’s research is part of the Center’s new science education program called Mutant Millets launched in local high schools last year. The new program is made possible through the generous support from Maritz, Roblee Foundation and Sigma-Aldrich.
“Working alongside intelligent, hard-working and enthusiastic students like Ketan and seeing them grow in their ability to think critically and conduct challenging research gives real meaning to our Center’s commitment to provide powerful, positive experiences to our next generation of scientists,” said Terry Woodford-Thomas.
Ketan will continue working at the Danforth Center until his graduation from Clayton High School in June. He has been accepted to Stanford University and will begin his general and scientific studies there in August.
“Wherever I go, I’ll always remember the lasting impact that the Danforth Center has had in forming the person that I am today,” said Ketan. “I know that the Danforth Center has prepared me well for the long journey I’m about to begin in college and the experience has increased my desire to become the scientist I have always dreamed of becoming.”
Scholarship funding for the top 10 students in the Honors Division of the St. Louis Science Fair was made possible through the generous support of The Monsanto Fund and SunEdison. The competition was held at the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Commerce Education Center.
| Ivan Baxtereducation outreachTerry Woodford-ThomasKetan Jain-Poster