SURF’s Up! 2016 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows

The ASPB SURF program funds undergraduate students to conduct 10 consecutive weeks of plant biology research with a mentor during the early part of their college career.  This year’s SURF recipients will present their research during the undergraduate and regular poster sessions at Plant Biology 2017. Congratulations to these 2016 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows and their mentors:

SURFers from Primarily Undergraduate Institutions

Meghan Bacher, University of Puget SoundMeghan Bacher SURF 2016

  • Investigating the FBS1 and 14-3-3 interaction with BiFC
  • Mentor:  Bryan Thines, Assistant Professor, Biology Department, University of Puget Sound

Geneva Lee, Mills CollegeGeneva Lee- SURF 2016

  • Consequences of varying levels of genetic diversity and subpopulation isolation on population growth and persistence in Streptanthus glandulosus nige (Brassicaceae)
  • Mentor: Sarah Swope, PhD Assistant Professor in the Mills College Biology Dept.

Davon Whitest, Rochester Institute of TechnologyDavon Whitest SURF 2016

  • The Synthesis and Phenotypic Characterization of 2-Halo-1-Aminocyclopropane Carboxylic Acid Derivatives in Arabidopsis Thaliana: Potential Radiotracer Imaging Agents
  • Mentor:  Michael G. Coleman, Assistant Professor of Chemistry


SURFers from Doctoral Granting Institutions

 Cairo Archer, Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant ResearchCairo Archer SURF 2016

  • Functional analysis of the terpene synthase TPS2 in maize-aphid interactions
  • Mentor: Georg Jander, Professor


Julia Brose, University of Missouri-ColumbiaJulia Brose SURF 2016

  • Discovery of Indole Phytoalexins in Roots of Crop Brassicas
  • Mentor: Elizabeth Sattely, Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering, Stanford University

Snigdha Chatterjee, Syracuse UniversitySnigdha Chatterjee headshot SURF 2016

  • DDR1, an Arabidopsis Histone Demethylase Negatively Regulates Cell Death, Drought, and Defense Against Pseudomonas syringae
  • Mentor:  Ramesh Raina, Chair, Department of Biology

Alexander Clarke, University of MissouriAlexander Clarke SURF 2016

  • Defining clathrin-dependent protein networks using an ENTH-vesicle adaptor
  • Mentor: Antje Heese, Associate Professor, University of Missouri-Columbia, Division of Biochemistry

Cole Folstad, University of Minnesota-Twin CitiesCole Folstad SURF 2016

  • Engineering a New Bio-Fuel Feedstock: Domesticating Pennycress
  • Mentor:  M. David Marks, Principle Investigator 

Erin Hartzell, West Virginia UniversityErin Hartzell SURF 2016

  • Genetic Analyses of Subcellular Metabolic Crosstalk in the Plant Terpenoid Biosynthetic Network
  • Mentor: Michael Gutensohn, Division of Plant and Soil Sciences

Johanna L’Heureux, University of Massachusetts-Amherstbarce

  • Determining the mode of action of a novel antimicrobial peptide from legumes
  • Mentor:  Dong Wang, Assistant Professor

Helen Liu, University of Illinois at Urbana ChampaignHelen Liu SURF 2016

  • Silencing of XRCC4 Using VIGS for T-DNA Insertion by Homologous Recombination Facilitated by CRISPR/CAS9 Genome Editing System
  • Mentor: Donald R. Ort, Robert Emerson Professor in Plant Biology and Crop Sciences

Iris Mollhoff, University of California-DavisIris Mollhoff SURF 2016

  • Structural-Functional Analysis of Plant Diterpene Metabolism
  • Mentor:  Philipp Zerbe, Assistant Professor of Plant Biology

Jeremy Pardo, Cornell UniversityJeremy Pardo SURF 2016

  • Genetic Basis of Stomatal Conductance under Water Stress in a Portion of the Maize Nested Association Mapping Population
  • Mentor: Taryn Bauerle, Associate Professor

Amanda Shurzinske, Ball State UniversityAmanda Shurzinske SURF 2016

  • Changes in Gene Expression Mediate Auxin Responses in Arabidopsis thaliana
  • Mentor:  Bethany Zolman, Associate Professor of Biology, University of Missouri-St. Louis

Anna TsuiAnna Tsui, North Carolina State University

  • Uncoupling the roles of auxin and ethylene in cotyledon and leaf epinasty
  • Mentor: Anna Stepanova, Assistant Professor of Plant Biology and Genetics



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