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ASPB announces Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship 2007 recipients

(Rockville, MD September 20, 2007) Fifteen students mentored by members of the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) were selected to receive the 2007ASPB Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF). The $3,000 fellowship permits each student to devote full-time effort to his or her research project for a 10-week period during the summer. The award also includes $500 to the mentor for lab supplies, a free student membership in ASPB until August 2008, and travel grant assistance to attend the 2008 ASPB Plant Biology meeting.

There were 24 Category A (Research and Doctoral Universities) applicants and 10 Category B (Masters Universities, Baccalaureate Colleges, and Associate of Art Colleges) applicants for a total of 34 highly competitive projects. The reviewers were impressed by the high quality of all the applicants projects and the commitment of the students and their mentors to their ongoing research.

The SURF program was once again co-chaired by SURF founders Mark Brodl, Trinity University, and Jon Monroe, James Madison University. Also co-chairing this year was Amy Clore, New College of Florida. This is the seventh year of the program. SURF is funded by the ASPB Executive Committee and ASPB Good Works funds. SURF chairs and other ASPB members support the fellowship program in many ways, including reviewing applications, selecting recipients and supporting their research.

Complete project descriptions and photos can be viewed at the ASPB website: The 2007 SURF winners are:

Group A - Research and Doctoral Universities

Christopher Aakre, Stanford University
Project: Biological Function of the Tomato LRR-RLK in Xanthomonas-Host Interactions
Mentor: Dr. Mary Beth Mudgett

Robert Billmyre, University of Maryland College Park
Project: Auxin Transport in Charophytes: Examining the Roots of Land Plant Evolution
Mentor: Dr. Heven Sze

Lihan Deng, University of Tennessee Knoxville
Project: Study of the Function of EPIP1 and EPIP2 Proteins
Mentor: Dr. Elena Shpak

Christine Falaschetti, Loyola University Chicago
Project: Regulation of starch synthesis in wheat: the unique endosperm ADP-GlcPPase
Mentor: Dr. Miguel Ballicora

Ashley Hipps, Cornell University
Project: Determining the Molecular Mechanisms of Temperature Modulation of Defense Responses in Arabidopsis thaliana through int Mutants
Mentor: Dr. Jian Hua

Charles Mason, Pennsylvania State University
Project: Heterologous biosynthesis of flavonoid metabolites and characterization of induction properties of a transcription factor in fungal challenged maize plants.
Mentor: Dr. Surinder Chopra

Ryan Mayle, Michigan State University
Project: cpDNA mutations as a genetic indicator of oxidative damage in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii under high light conditions
Mentor: Dr. Barb Sears

Amy Rymaszewski, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee
Project: Identification of Novel Signaling Components in the EMS1 Signal Transduction Pathway Using Activation Tagging
Mentor: Dr. Dazhong Zhao

Christian Santa Maria, University of California Davis
Project: Sister Chromatid Cohesion in Plants: Comparing Centromeres to Chromosome Arms
Mentor: Dr. Simon Chan

Amy Schroeder, Truman State University
Project: Roles of conserved serine and tyrosine residues in the active site of tyrosine ammonia-lyase
Mentor: Dr. Joseph Jez

Blaire J. Steinwand, Colorado State University
Project: Sucrose Induced Expression of the PAP1 Gene in Arabidopsis thaliana
Mentor: Dan Bush

Group B - Masters Universities, Baccalaureate Colleges, and Associate of Art Colleges

Roxana Godiwalla, University of Wisconsin Whitewater
Project: Effects of Calcium on the Growth of Various Mutant Plants
Mentor: Dr. Catherine Chan

Tazley Hotz, East Tennessee State University
Project: Salicylic acid-methyl transferase required for plant innate immunity
Mentor: Dr. Dhirendra Kumar

Janelle Johnson, San Francisco State University Project: WAKL4 Cis-Acting Elements in Response to Environmental Minerals
Mentor: Dr. Zheng-Hui He

Stacy Kowsz, Rochester Institute of Technology
Project: Quorum sensing signal mimics in modern and ancient corn types
Mentor: Dr. Michael Savka


Contact: Katie Engen
American Society of Plant Biologists

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