Skip to main content
Skip to navigation

IPG Undergraduates Showcase their Discoveries

Eighteen undergraduate students working in IPG labs showcased their discoveries and creative accomplishments during a poster presentation at the 19th Annual Summer Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievements Forum on Thursday, July 31, 2008, in the McQuinn Atrium inside the Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center.

The students, who are 2008 summer interns of the Life Sciences Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program, were also on hand to discuss their work with the general public. Students' research addressed subjects ranging from root patterning in corn plants to the influence of phosphorus nutrition on plant growth to gall formation in trees.

Approximately 200 people attended the poster presentations. Among those in attendance were Jim Spain, Vice Provost of Undergraduate Studies, and Former State Representative Vicki Riback Wilson, currently Service Learning and Fellowships Coordinator for the MU Fellowships Office.

"The quality of the posters and variety of research was extremely impressive," said Riback Wilson. "What impressed me most, however, was the poise and knowledge of the students. They were able not only to discuss the actual research, but also to explain the significance of their research in lay terms. I learned a lot!"

The quality of the students' posters and presentations also stood out to IPG member Bruce McClure who had come to browse the posters and meet the students. "Many of the posters were on par with work I have seen from graduate students, postdocs, and faculty," said McClure, who is a Professor in the Division of Biochemistry and an investigator in the Bond Life Sciences Center. "Both the undergraduate researchers and their mentors should be very proud of what they have accomplished. I would be thrilled if many of the students apply to graduate school at MU."

Generating this level of excitement and interaction between students and faculty is one of the goals of the annual forum, according to Linda Blockus, Director of the Life Sciences Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program and Office of Undergraduate Research. "It's always great for the students to share their finished projects with their peers and the science community. It's a lot of fun to see the students engaged in animated and intense conversations with faculty and other scientists," she said.

In all, thirteen IPG labs participated in the 2008 undergraduate summer research program. Participating labs included those of Walter Gassmann, Georgia Davis, Dale Blevins, Gary Stacey, Jack Schultz/Heidi Appel from the Division of Plant Sciences; Candi Galen, Karen Cone, Mannie Liscum, Kathy Newton, Tim Holtsford, and Jim Birchler from the Division of Biological Sciences; Antje Heese from the Division of Biochemistry; and Ye Duan from the Department of Computer Science.

The Office of Undergraduate Research sponsors summer and academic year undergraduate research internships, travel awards for undergraduates, and workshops and special events that promote careers and research in the life sciences. Summer program interns conduct research on campus with a faculty mentor for nine weeks. One hundred and twelve undergraduate interns participated in this year's program. The program is opened to both MU students and students from other universities and institutions.

Students received funding from MU, National Science Foundation (NSF) undergraduate programs, and NSF faculty grants.

Many IPG faculty, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows came out to support their undergraduate interns at the poster presentations. Below are some pictures of IPG members with their student interns.

Jason Brown and Tim Holtsford

Jason Brown, a senior at MU, with his mentor Tim Holtsford, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences. Brown's research focused on identifying genetic markers for self-pollination in a hybrid Nicotiana species.

Soo Kim and Louis Meyer

Soo Kim, a senior from the University of Illinois-Champaign, with her mentor Louis Meyer, graduate student in Kathy Newton's lab in the Division of Biological Sciences. Kim used various genetic approaches to help identify the location of a gene known to restore male fertility in sterile corn plants.

Ullas Pedmale and Sally Martin

Ullas Pedmale, graduate student in the Division of Biological Sciences, with summer intern Sally Martin, a senior from Cardiff University in Wales. Martin conducted a functional analysis of NPH3, a gene known to be involved in phototropism.

Joseph Adiasor and Walter Gassmann

Walter Gassmann, Associate Professor of Plant Sciences, with his summer intern Joseph Adiasor, senior at MU. Adiasor examined the functional role of SNC1, a gene involved in defense against bacterial infections in Arabidopsis.