(Nature) Eavesdropping on plant chatter

I became deaf after a high malarial fever when I was three. I was living in Sierra Leone, but, at age 12, my parents sent me to the United States to be adopted by a family friend. Before learning American Sign Language at 15, I communicated in gestures and relied on advocates at school.

I attended the National Technical Institute for the Deaf in Rochester, New York, where I earned an associate degree in laboratory sciences and later a bachelor of science in biochemistry. In 2017, I began my PhD at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. I first applied to work in a laboratory at the university conducting targeted cancer-therapy research but I was rejected. After that, I applied only to labs that had already worked with deaf students, and that’s how I met Tessa Burch-Smith, a plant biologist at Tennessee who was studying how plant cells communicate with each other. I thought it was the perfect field for me: I’ve also had to find ways to communicate to survive.

Read more in this story from Nature!