Understanding how rice plants resist infection


VIP students will:
1. Practice safe lab practices, quality electronic notebook keeping, and gain basic knowledge on the immune response in rice, the world’s most important food staple.
2. Identify mutations in genes predicted to control the rice immune response.
3. Engage the community in learning about genetics through a market science program and/or two minute YouTube videos

Issues Involved or Addressed

Advances in genetic technologies have led to an explosion in our ability to engineer organisms for new traits. Today’s scientists must be equipped to participate in responsible science communication regarding emerging genetic technologies. Further, the next generation of scientists must anticipate and respond to ethical dilemmas in their work, all while upholding research integrity. The goal of this project is to challenge students to participate in the processes of scientific discovery and science communication. We will train students to pay attention to detail and to consider ethics and public engagement as integral to genetics research. Ronald lab VIP students will assist researchers with the characterization of 1-2 rice mutants that are predicted to have an altered response to bacterial infection. Students will receive hands-on training in laboratory research and in communicating the science behind their work.

Methods and Technologies

  • Gene editing and expression
  • Generation and growth of rice mutants
  • Characterization of rice mutants
  • Science communication to lay audience

Academic Majors of Interest

  • Plant pathology
  • Molecular biology
  • Genetics
  • Biochemistry
  • Communication

Preferred Interests and Preparation

Students interested in understanding and implementing genetic modification of rice plants to render them bacteria resistant. Should be interested in communicating the technology to lay public to ally fear and reservation to genetically modified plants. Bacground in plant pathology, molecular biology, genetics and communication will be helpful.