Hannah Talton



Hanna is a student at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

Hannah Talton1,2, Dr. Stephen H. Howell2, Dr. Renu Srivastava2

1. North Carolina Agricultural &Technical State University, Greensboro, NC 27411.
2. Genetics, Development and Cell Biology, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011.

Crops are impacted by many different abiotic and biotic factors. Under adverse environmental conditions plants show signs and symptoms of stress. One form of stress is called ER stress which is due to the accumulation of misfolded proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum. ER stress elicits the unfolded protein response (UPR) that sends stress signals to the nucleus. One of the components of the UPR signaling pathway is IRE1, an unconventional RNA splicing enzyme that splices bZIP60 mRNA to produce a powerful transcription factor. The production of bZIP60 brings in the reinforcements by upregulating the expression of many stress response genes to restore a homeostatic balance. Many of the upregulated genes assist in protein folding, such as: DNAJ, calnexin (CXN), BiP1 and BiP2. These different genes and also the spliced and unspliced forms of bZIP60 mRNA were tested in both lab and field conditions to identify what bio markers would be best to use when assessing the ER stress response in plants. DNAJ, CNX, and unspliced form of bZIP60 mRNA showed to be the most promising bio markers to use for future analysis of ER stress and the UPR in maize.

Christopher Lawrence



Chris graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in genetics.

As a young scientist, it is very easy to take for granted what we have. This can range from access to computational resources, reagents within the lab, and the tools that we use to perform our analysis. Often we get caught up in whether or not our analysis proved fruitful and fail to take into consideration the things which make it possible. My project this summer has been to put in place the computational infrastructure to enable data collection, transfer and analysis for the Enviratron project. The Enviratron is a project wholly dedicated to understanding how organisms adapt to climate change. Specifically, the project desires to characterize maize Genome X Environment interactions by monitoring the performance of plants when subjected to a variety of environmental conditions within a controlled growth chamber. To enable researchers to do their work using the Enviratron instrumentation, I worked to create a network accessible database and computational infrastructure all with Darwin Campbell’s help. This has involved: learning VMware ESXi, UNIX and Linux, Postgresql, manipulating firewalls, server "hardening", creating virtual machines, and understanding data storage. Resources like these are the backbone to every project and constitute the very fabric that make scientific research possible within our increasingly computational field. The Enviratron computational infrastructure will support scientists to perform analyses, collect and store phenotypic data, and share data among lab members and their collaborators. Most importantly, all of this takes place within a safe and secure network environment. This is paramount to the productivity and experiments undertaken by the Enviratron Group.


Robert Blackburn



Robert is a Junior at Wartburg College, Engineering Major, Biology minor.

Robert Blackburn1; Brett Boote2; Daniel Freppon2; Dr. Emily A. Smith2

1. Wartburg College, Waverly, IA 50677.
2. Department of Chemistry, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011.

Sugarcane mosaic virus, or SCMV, causes several problems within the sweet corn it infects. These range from the major symptoms caused by the disease itself, to the increased susceptibility to other diseases. As a result, it has been deemed necessary to find an imaging technique to differentiate between healthy sweet corn and sweet corn infected with SCMV. Once a technique is developed for SCMV it may be possible to use the technique for detecting other plant diseases. The research outlined herein was performed to test the viability of using fluorescence intensity thresholds to differentiate between healthy and infected sweet corn plants. The average intensity values obtained from fluorescence microscopy images are statistically similar at most locations on the plant leaf. Future work may lead to an effective detection technique, and work is ongoing in this area.

Arlyssia Sells



Arlyssia is a Junior at Navajo Technical University and is gettting her degree in Environmental Science and Natural Resource. The abstract below details her area of study interests and accomplishments.

Arlyssia Sells1, Darwin Campbell2, Carolyn Lawrence-Dill 2&3

1. Navajo Technical University, Crownpoint, NM 87313.
2. Department of Genetics, Development and Cell Biology, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011.
3. Department of Agronomy, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011.

Research outcomes that are not documented and shared are effectively lost. Put another way, why do the research if the outcomes are not made readily available?
Science Communication via the internet and social media enables broad dissemination of new discoveries and constitutes a key component of the research enterprise. This summer I am learning to create web pages and online resources to document research outcomes and programs, including the project activities of the George Washington Carver Internship Program.  This has involved learning to code HMTL, manipulate multi-media files, and logically organize information. Developed resources will be available online at http://www.lawrencelab.org/outreach. Documenting research activities and new data online will make these resources available to scientists and the general public alike. Such resources enable the general public to read essays and articles that explain the purpose of research project and help scientists to gain access to data to further their own work. What’s more, they enable groups, interested in similar topics to identify shared interests and work together. For the GWC interns, the ability to show their involvement in research projects will be a benefit for demonstrating past research experience for graduate school application. Most importantly, communicating science allows everyone to benefit from scientific discovery.

http://www.lawrencelab.org/outreach/2015/arlyssia   Personal Webpages
http://www.lawrencelab.org/outreach/2015/gwc         GWC Project Webpages