Katie Horton

Graduate Student, Division of Plant Sciences & Technology

I got my start in science researching ecology and phylogeny of plants native to North America, and now I’m applying that experience to projects studying how plants respond to pathogen attack. The first part of my project involves isolating strains of bacteria from wild lettuces and using them as a tool to study the molecular signals that plants recognize when they’re under attack from these pathogens. For the second part of my project I grow many kinds of turnips and rutabagas which I then infiltrate with a bacteria that contains a specific molecular signal. By recording which plants have a response to the signal, I can get much closer to identifying the gene or genes behind the response. Both of these projects will further our understanding of how to grow crop plants that are more resistant to pathogen attack. 

After I graduate I hope to work for/with a space program investigating the way plants respond to the combined stresses imposed by pathogens and microgravity on board the space station.

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