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Discovery that Connects

From fundamental insights to better plants, sustainably grown, serving the world

Four SIPS students awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

-Magdalen Lindeberg

Congratulations to SIPS graduate students Eric Branch, Morgan Irons, Clarice Guan, Gordon Younkin, and Brandon Roy who have received NSF-GRFP awards or honorable mentions for 2020! The National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program is the country’s oldest fellowship program that directly supports graduate students in various science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields and who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited United States institutions.

The effects of azoxystrobin on rhizosphere microbiology and microbiome-mediated disease risk

man in red shirtEric Branch, graduate student with Sarah Pethybridge (awardee)

Eric obtained his BS degree in Plant Science from the University of Minnesota and is currently working towards a PhD in the Pethybrige lab at Cornell AgriTech. His research involves disease management and risk prediction for root rot of table beets caused by Rhizoctonia solani.

Evolution and development of phyllotaxis: the Zingiberales as a model lineage

person with glasses and black sweaterClarice Guan, graduate student with Chelsea Specht (awardee)

Clarice is a second-year graduate student in the Specht program, using evolutionary and developmental techniques to study phyllotaxis in the tropical order Zingiberales. They are focusing particularly on the family Costaceae, which grows in coils with their leaves in a spiral staircase arrangement. On a more personal note, Clarice collects empty glass jars and is an alarmingly insufficient gardener!

Phytochemical diversity in defense against insect herbivores

Gordon Younkin, graduate student with Georg Jander (awardee)

man in front of brick buildingGordon is a second year PhD student in the Jander lab and is interested in the function and evolution of plant specialized metabolism. Specifically, he is studying cardiac glycoside biosynthesis in the crucifer genus Erysimum and how small chemical modifications to the basic cardiac glycoside structure alter toxicity to insect herbivores.

Microbial Holdfast: A Stabilization Mechanism for Soil Organic Matter?

Morgan Irons, graduate student with Johannes Lehmann (awardee)

women in front of treeMorgan Irons is a Soil and Crop Sciences PhD student with research focusing on microbial- and organo-mineral stabilization mechanisms in soil aggregates and their contribution to the persistence and long-term sequestration of soil organic matter and carbon. She is also the Founder and CSO of Deep Space Ecology Inc., a space and agricultural business startup working to solve the challenges of food security on Earth and deep space as we venture out into our solar system. Morgan received her Bachelor of Science degrees in environmental science & policy and biology from Duke University, where her research focused on the development of “quasi-closed, agroecological systems” for sustainability in extreme environments and long duration space habitation.

Genomic and Proteomic Analysis of Grapevine Red Blotch Virus

Brandon Roy, incoming graduate student with Marc Fuchs (honorable mention)

man working in a lab


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