July 13, 2017

Undergraduate Summer Research in the Phillips lab

Summer research is in full swing in the Phillips lab. Thanks to the University of Toronto - Mississauga Research Opportunity Program, four UTM undergrads are acquiring practical research experience in my lab this summer. Each student is pursuing a fully independent research project in plant biology as part of the BIO299 summer research program. Here is a summary of their projects:

Alex Chang. Alex is learning bioinformatics techniques in a collaborative project with Prof. Adriano Senatore. Alex is assembling de novo transcriptomes for essential oil plants under study in the lab to identify new genes involved in essential oil biosynthesis.


Haniya Adnan. Haniya is engaged in the molecular cloning of essential oil genes from coriander using bioinformatics and homology based cloning approaches. In addition, she is conducting volatile metabolite profiling of commercial coriander cultivars.



Ibadat Bajwa. Ibadat is applying metabolomics techniques to the study of plant responses to environmental stresses using Arabidopsis. He has optimized an untargeted sample prep protocol for the analysis of primary metabolites by GC-MS.



Riya Bali. Riya is investigating the auxin biosynthetic pathway in the charophyte alga Chara. Using a combination of isotopic labeling, gene expression analysis, and LCMS/MS targeted metabolomics, she is attempting to resolve a long standing issue in the evolution of phytohormone evolution: where and when did plants evolve the ability to make and use auxins as growth regulators?


Matthew Bergman. A recent graduate in Biology at UTM, Matthew will soon begin his PhD program in the Phillips lab. This summer, he is investigating the biosynthesis of terpenoid essential oils in rose geranium (Pelargonium sp.) using whole plant labeling, molecular cloning, and volatile analysis.



Ransher Nain. Ransher is continuing the exploration of the origin of pyruvate in plant chloroplasts. Arabidopsis genetics, whole plant isotopic labeling, and LCMS/MS analysis of primary metabolites constitute his primary research activities in the lab.



Lucy Chen. As an outstanding lab volunteer, Lucy has maintained the Arabidopsis cultures, learned genetic screening of transgenic plants, and organized the lab during the startup period.