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Chad Niederhuth Receives IPG Certificate of Achievement

Chad Niederhuth

The Interdisciplinary Plant Group recently recognized Chad Niederhuth, a second year graduate student in the Division of Biological Sciences, with an IPG Certificate of Achievement. He also received a check for $500, which he can use for travel to conferences or scientific expenses.

The IPG Certificate of Achievement and monetary award are given to students who demonstrate a commitment to the interdisciplinary study of plant biology through completion of the IPG first-year Core Curriculum. The IPG Core Curriculum was first implemented during the 2007/2008 academic year. Chad is the first student to complete all recommended first year courses in the curriculum.

Walter Gassmann presented the award to Chad on August 25, 2008, at the first IPG seminar of the fall 2008 season. In his delivery remarks, Gassmann commented on Chad's excellent academic performance and his dedication to the curriculum and the coursework during his entire first year. Gassmann, an associate professor in the Division of Plant Sciences, coordinates the IPG Core Curriculum for graduate students and participates in the teaching of one of its courses.

Chad is currently in his second year of his doctoral program. He is working on the genetic control of organ abscission in Arabidopsis in the lab of John C. Walker, Professor of Biological Sciences in the Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center and Director of the IPG.

The IPG First Year Core Curriculum is designed to provide entering graduate students with an intensive interdisciplinary study of plant biology. The goal is to get all incoming IPG students to a common level, ready to take literature-driven courses and tutorials in their second year, and to participate in journal clubs and seminars. The Core Curriculum is also designed to establish incoming graduate students with a cohort of colleagues interested in plant biology, a feature that they may be lacking in their home departments.

Fall semester of the Core Curriculum includes two plant biology courses—one that emphasizes plant genetics and molecular biology and one that focuses on plant physiology—and a professional survival skills course. During the spring semester, the curriculum offers courses in plant metabolism, plant cell biology, plant responses to abiotic and biotic interactions, and ecology and evolution. These first-year core courses are offered in a compact time format so that students can also initiate research projects in the lab.

The second year of the IPG Core Curriculum offers students a variety of advanced primary literature driven courses. Among these are courses in plant growth and development, plant virology, plant water relations, genetics of plant-microbe interactions, plant-nematode interactions, phylogenetic methods and applications, plant-animal interactions, and transport and metabolism of plant nutrients.

For more information about the IPG Core Curriculum, contact Walter Gassmann at