Though plants lack a nervous system, they use long distance signaling in ways analogous to animals. Herbivory and mechanical damage trigger long distance electrical signals emanating from the source of damage, which propagate to distal unwounded leaves and trigger defense mechanisms. These signals are fast, traveling at 4-8cm min-1 and only travel to leaves that are vascularly connected to the wounded leaf. However, the molecular components and mechanisms underlying this long distance signaling is poorly understood. Deciphering long distance signaling in plants could have profound implications in agriculture by giving us the tools necessary to understand intra-organ communication in plants.
We are looking for highly motivated, creative applicants who are interested in advancing plant research. Broadly, the interns will screen a series of candidate mutants using an electrophysiological assay. We will identifying mutant lines that have altered signaling phenotypes and further characterize them. Interns will develop reporter lines to spatially identify candidates’ tissue and cellular localization. Interns will also receive extensive training in live cell fluorescence microscopy. By the end of summer, we expect that interns have learned multiple advanced cloning and molecular techniques, plant electrophysiology, and fluorescence microscopy.