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Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF)
Recipients for 2003

ASPB Undergraduate Fellowship Award Winners Look Forward to Summer Research Projects

In this third year of the ASPB Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program, eight students have been selected to receive $3,000 grants to conduct independent investigations during the summer of 2003. They will then present their research at the 2004 ASPB annual meeting in Orlando, Florida. The students’ mentors receive an additional $500 toward supplies and materials.

There were 25 Category A (Research and Doctoral Universities) applicants and 14 Category B (Master’s Universities, Baccalaureate Colleges, and Associate of Arts Colleges) applicants, for a total of 39 qualified applicants. This compares with 28 applicants for last year. The reviewers were impressed by the high quality of the applicants’ projects and the commitment of all the students and their mentors to their ongoing research.

This program was once again cochaired by Jon Monroe, James Madison University, and Mark Brodl, Trinity University. The cochairs expressed their appreciation to the ASPB Executive Committee for providing ASPB Good Works Funds to support the fellowship program. Students and mentors will want to keep an eye on the ASPB home page, starting in December 2003, for the next summer’s fellowship announcement.

Marko Jovanovic Marko Jovanovic, University of Vienna, Austria
Project: Investigating the Role of RTE2 in Ethylene Signaling in Arabidopsis
Mentor: Caren Chang, Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics, University of Maryland

I am honored to receive this fellowship. This award encourages me to take my first steps into science. I feel like I am on the right track now, and I will use this summer experience to help me determine if plant research is my future.
Darleen Franklin  

Darleen Franklin, San Francisco State University (SFSU)
Project: Analysis of Plant Response to Direct Expression of the Early Chlorosis Factor Gene from Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. vesicatoria
Mentor: Maureen Whalen, Biology Department, SFSU

I am grateful to have been selected for the ASPB SURF award. The SURF award will allow me to get one step closer to the goal of understanding how plants respond to infection by bacterial pathogens. Attaining this goal will be personally exciting in part because what I learn could eventually be applied in the field to lessen crop loss. Thank you for the support!

Amanda Durbak  

Amanda Durbak, New College of Florida, Sarasota
Project: Characterization of Cell Dedifferentiation and Carpel Fusion in Madagascar Periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus)
Mentor: Amy Clore, Division of Natural Sciences, New College of Florida

I am honored and thrilled to have received this opportunity from ASPB. I am excited about the chance to be able to solve the mystery as to how dedifferentiation occurs in Madagascar periwinkle carpels. I hope that this project will be the first stepping stone in a future career in plant biology. I would like to thank ASPB for providing this opportunity, and I eagerly await the start of the summer.

Tara Wood  

Tara Wood, Kansas State University, Manhattan
Project: Characterization of Putative Phosphatidylcholine- Hydrolyzing Phospholipase C in Arabidopsis
Mentor: Xuemin Wang, Depart-ment of Biochemistry, Kansas State University

I am very excited to have been selected to receive the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship from the American Society of Plant Biologists. I am grateful for the rewarding and valuable learning experience that full-time summer research will provide. Thank you for this tremendous opportunity.

Ian Wallace  

Ian Wallace, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Project: Structural Basis for the Selectivity and Rate of Water and Solute Transport through Plant Channels of the Major Intrinsic Protein Family in Plants
Mentor: Daniel M. Roberts, Department of Biochemistry and Cellular & Molecular Biology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

I am very excited about winning the ASPB SURF award for several reasons. First, this award allows me to present my research at an ASPB-sponsored meeting and discuss my work with others in my field. I will be able to get feedback from excellent scientists in many fields and possibly formulate new ideas that I would have never considered without their input. This award also allows me both to buy some of the necessary supplies that I need to take the project to the next stage and to stay in Knoxville over the summer without having to get another job outside the lab. I am grateful to ASPB for selecting me for this award, and I feel that this award will allow me to continue to do interesting and meaningful research. Thank you.

C. Dustin Hildenbrand  

C. Dustin Hildenbrand, Ohio University, Athens
Project: Microarray Analysis of the Gravitropic Signal Transduction Pathway Using the Gravity Persistent Signal Mutants of Arabidopsis
Mentor: Sarah Wyatt, Environmental and Plant Biology, Ohio University

I just can’t believe all of this is really happening. I must have jumped and screamed for five minutes when I found out that I had been chosen to receive the SURF. I am very pleased and grateful for a multitude of reasons. Of course, one is that I am thrilled to be able to conduct full-time research over the summer. Another reason is that, by studying these gps mutants, there is a great potential to learn about some of the mysteries of what I would consider one of coolest things in all of the plant sciences, the gravitropic response. Third, this will really give me an opportunity to get my hands dirty in the world of bioinformatics and computational biology, areas that I am strongly considering studying in graduate school. I won’t bore anyone any longer about how and why I am so excited, except to say that I think that plants are so cool. Thank you, ASPB.

Jennifer Muniz  

Jennifer Muniz, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti
Project: Identification of NADP+- Malic Acid Enzyme in Arabidopsis Guard Cells
Mentor: Marianne M. Laporte, Biology Department, Eastern Michigan University

I am extremely grateful for the generous support from ASPB to continue working on my project with my incredible mentor. Research has opened many new doors for me, and I am quite appreciative for the opportunity to progress.

Ryan Gutierrez  

Ryan Gutierrez, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
Project: Toward the Understanding of Endo- and Exoribonucleases in Chloroplast RNA Catabolism: A Reverse Genetic Approach
Mentor: David Stern, Boyce Thompson Institute at Cornell University

I feel very fortunate to have such a great opportunity to begin my research career. Much thanks to the ASPB and my mentors for all their support.



Jonathan Gilkerson, Marshall University, Huntington, West Virginia
Project: Regulation of a Peach Type II Chlorophyll a/b-Binding Protein Gene by Exogenous Ethylene
Mentor: Marcia A. Harrison, Biological Sciences, Marshall University

Reed Getzke, State University of New York–Cortland
Project: Potential Role of the Arabidopsis Ascorbate-Reductase System in Reducing Reactive NOy Compounds
Mentor: Patricia L. Conklin, Department of Biological Sciences, SUNY–Cortland

Arthur Millius, Rice University, Houston
Project: Genetic Analysis of IBA Response Mutants in Arabidopsis thaliana
Mentor: Bonnie Bartel, Biochemistry and Cell Biology Department, Rice University

Candace Randall, North Carolina State University, Raleigh
Project: InsP3-Induced Gene Expression in Transgenic Tobacco Cultures in Response to Hyperosmotic Stress
Mentors: Wendy Boss and Imara Perera, Botany Department, North Carolina State University

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