Project Description: 

Photosynthesis is vital to life on Earth by providing the majority of organic matter and oxygen. Despite this, many genes involved in photosynthesis and its regulation are still unknown. Our approach in discovering these unknown genes is to generate and study algal mutants that are defective in photosynthesis and to understand the molecular function of the disrupted gene by characterizing the mutants’ photosynthetic and molecular phenotypes. Recently among these photosynthesis mutants, we have uncovered a novel protein involved in Photosystem II (PSII) assembly. While PSII function and structure has been greatly studied, its biogenesis is highly complex is not yet well understood. In this project, in addition to systematically characterizing the many photosynthetic mutants we have generated, we aim to further characterize this new PSII assembly protein and its paralogs in the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Gaining fundamental understanding of regulatory proteins such as these will be critical in tackling the pressing issue of climate change.

Undergraduate's Role: 

The undergraduate student will become versed in various molecular biology techniques including but not limited to media and solution preparation, sterile microbiology techniques, PCR, gel electrophoresis, sequencing, cloning, CRISPR-Cas9 in algae and the use of any necessary bioinformatic tools. Lastly, the student will have the opportunity to work with the plant system Arabidopsis thaliana and various algal species in the future. Students who have already taken or are currently taking the BIO1A lab course in the fall semester are preferred and will be asked to plan on working in blocks of hours of at least four hours within normal work hours.

On Campus
9-12 hours