We are continuing to exploit the transgenic A. thaliana SI model to elucidate the self-incompatibility system of the crucifer family.
All lateral organs in plant shoots are derived from shoot meristems, which are discrete populations of stems cells that are self-renewing and organogenic. Likewise, grain yield in maize is dependent upon the formation and maintenance of a variety of shoot meristem structures in the ear inflorescence. Genetic and genomic analyses of meristems will provide additional insight into the mechanisms of shoot meristem function in an important crop plant.
Through conversations with farmers, I helped them to increase farm profitability by improving fertilizer use, reducing seeding rates, and selecting different plants for silage.
This project screened Norway rats from New York City to better understand the risks of human-rodent interactions. Norway rats were found to be infected with several known and novel pathogens, and carried ectoparasites such as fleas that are capable of transmitting pathogens to humans.
I study gene activity in both a harmless roundworm and its harmful relatives. The harmless worm, Caenorhabditis elegans, is easy to dissect, and my colleagues and I work to study how it uses gene activity to make its cells move across the body. We have found new genes needed for cell movement, which we suspect may also be needed in humans and other mammals. I also study the genes of worms closely related to C. elegans, the strongylids, which are worldwide parasites of both farm animals and humans.
Our research group has conceptualized, developed and patented a new, high-pressure extrusion process for generating expanded microcellular food matrices at low temperature and low shear. This has opened up possibilities for creating new generations of foods as well as nonfood materials. The technology also lends itself to continuous manufacturing of leavened dough without yeast fermentation and rice of improved nutritional quality. New developments in reactive supercritical fluid extrusion have produced new directions for research.
The SELEX protocol is a powerful method for identifying new inhibitors of biological targets. This step is often one of the first in the development of new drugs. In collaboration with the research groups of Profs. John Lis and Harold Craighead, we are using computational biology to optimize the performance and efficiency of this method.
The collaboration between HarvestNY and regional extension teams is strengthening the state wholesale produce auction sector, a total of five businesses with over $5 million in sales of fresh fruits and vegetables. In 2012, a research study of auctions, growers, and buyers identified needs and successful attributes of auctions. In early 2013, these data were used to develop programming to promote growth at current auctions and to establish two new auctions.
Being able to communicate scientific information is a skill that need to be learned. There is no better way to practice than to become a teacher, and educate students at all levels. I train both graduate students and undergraduates how to become good teachers, we discuss pedagogical methods, read books and journal articles about teaching methods. By exposing this new generation of scientists to modern teaching methods we don't only teach them how to become better communicators but we make them more competitive on the job market.
This course is designed for biology majors to provide lab experience with emphasis on the processes of scientific investigation and to promote collaboration, communication, and literacy in science. Students gain scientific skills used by biologists to construct new knowledge. Lab topics include genetics, evolution, microbiology, ecology, biochemistry, and molecular biology. The course modules follow the “crawl, walk, run” approach to develop the capacity of students to solve increasingly challenging problems with greater independence.