Announcing the 2018 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows (SURF)

The ASPB Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows (SURF) program funds promising undergraduate students so they can conduct research in plant biology during the early part of their college careers over the course of 10 consecutive weeks. This year’s SURF recipients will present their research at Plant Biology 2019. Congratulations to these 2018 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows and their mentors:


SURFers from Doctoral Granting Institutions

Anastasiya Andriyash, University of New Mexico

Project: Determining the Role of Myosin XI in the Gravitropic Response of Maize

Mentor: Dr. Michelle Facette


Daniel Berkovich, Washington University in St. Louis

Project: A Biochemical Investigation of Aspartate Aminotransferases in Plants

Mentor: Dr. Joseph Jez


David Berrios, University of California, Davis

Project: Characterization of Novel Sesquiterpene Synthases and Their Role in Plant Stress Tolerance in Setaria italica

Mentor: Dr. Philipp Zerbe


Bridget Bickner, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Project: Determining the Location of Cis-regulated Mutations in Flower Color Coding Genes in Phlox drummondii

Mentor: Dr. Robin Hopkins



Edward Cruz, University of Nevada, Reno

Project: Identifying Substrates of a Putative Protein O-fucosyltransferase that is Critical for Successful Pollen Tube Penetration in Arabidopsis thaliana

Mentor: Dr. Ian Wallace


Marlo Hall, University of California San Diego

Project: Regulation of Stress-induced Anthocyanin Production by a Transcription Factor Complex

Mentor: Dr. Alisa Huffaker


Laura Janousek, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Project: Quantification of WRKY1 Alternative Splicing in Arabidopsis thaliana to Explore Phenotypic Plasticity

Mentor: Dr. Amy Marshall-Colon


Grace Johnston, Colorado State University

Project: A Genetic Screen to Identify Cytokinin-mediated Processes that Regulate the Growth-Defense Tradeoff

Mentor: Dr. Cris Argueso


Cassandra Proctor, Cornell University

Project: Investigating the Role of Replication Factor C-like Genes during Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Symbiosis

Mentor: Dr. Maria Harrison


Jenny Swinton, Oklahoma State University

Project: Genes for Controlling Epidermal Cell Number in Arabidopsis

Mentor: Dr. Ming Yang


Xuening Zhang, University of California, Berkeley

Project: A Critical Window for Protection? Investigating the Importance of Timing of Exposure to Microbiome-mediated Protection

Mentor: Dr. Britt Koskella


SURFers from Primarily Undergraduate Institutions


Roshani Budhathoki, Eastern Connecticut State University

Project: Characterization of Novel Chicken Foot Nodule (cfn) Mutant Defective in Root Architecture and Symbiotic Nitrogen Fixation in the Model Legume Plant Medicago Truncatula

Mentor: Dr. Vijaykumar Veerappan


Rachael Prawitz, Missouri Western State University

Project: The Role of Isoprene in Plant Development

Mentor: Dr. Csengele Barta


Antonio Serrano, Northern New Mexico College

Project: Characterization of APA Events and Gene Expression Profile in the tcab Arabidopsis Mutant

Mentor: Dr. Izaguirre-Sierra, Dr. Laura de Lorenzo

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