Center for Plant Cell Biology

Featured News

ChemGen IGERT Student Internships!

Congratulations to the following students who recently completed internships:

  • Gregory Barding:  Host - Rens Voesenek; Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • Augusta Jamin:  Host - Yuxin Mao; Cornel University, Ithaca, New York
  • Jolene Diedrich: Host - Chris Hendrickson; National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, Tallahassee, Florida
  • Kayla Kaiser:  Host - Bernd Schneider; Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Jena, Germany
  • Michelle Brown:  Host - Gloria Muday; Department of Biology, Wake Forest University, North Carolina
  • Moses Tataw: Host -  Gopi Meenakshisundaram; Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Science, UC Irvine
  • Theresa Dinh:  Host - Detlef Weigel; Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Tubingen, Germany


ChemGen Travel and Publications

From fall 2009 to fall 2010, ChemGen IGERT fellows and Associates have attended 10 meetings with the aid of IGERT travel funds and published 16 peer-reviewed papers, three conference proceedings, one book chapter and four patent applications!


First NSF ChemGen IGERT Student Graduates from Program (Summer 2008)!


Colleen Knoth is the first CEPCEB ChemGen IGERT student to graduate from the 2005-10 NSF ChemGen IGERT program! Colleen graduated in the Plant Biology Graduate Program in Summer 2008 and her dissertation thesis is provided below. Congratulations, Colleen!

Dissecting Arabidopsis Immune Responses Using Molecular and Chemical Genomics [Colleen Knoth Dissertation Thesis]
Using interactions of Arabidopsis and the pathogenic oomycete Hyaloperonospora parasitica (Hp) I studied transcriptional reprogramming associated with plant immune responses. I focused on a cluster of Arabidopsis genes that exhibited in microarray experiments a strong and coordinated Late/sustained Up-regulation in Response to Hp (LURPs).  Insertional mutants of individual LURP genes showed partially reduced resistance to Hp, suggesting their concerted activity and coordinated up-regulation is required for full defense activation.  AtWRKY70, a LURP member encoding a WRKY transcription factor, is a key control point for this defense mechanism.  I initiated multiple approaches to uncover regulatory mechanisms coordinating LURP expression. By reporter gene assays and electrophoretic mobility shift assays I have isolated promoter regions of LURP genes containing candidate cis-elements likely to contribute to their co-regulation.    Using a transgenic Arabidopsis line containing a minimal Hp-responsive region of the CaBP22 promoter fused to GUS, I have established a reliable and specific high-throughput screening system for plant defense elicitors that allowed me to identify 114 candidate molecules. One representative, DCA, induced resistance to Hp and Pseudomonas syringae, a plant bacterial pathogen, without exhibiting direct antibiotic activity.   Genetic analyses indicated that DCA elicits the plants natural defense response downstream of the defense hormone salicylic acid by activating two distinct branches of the defense signaling network.


ChemGen IGERT Student Jolene Diedrich Publishes Paper Identifying Protein Phosphyloration Sites in JACS (August 2008)


In conjunction with Ryan R. Julian from the UCR Chemistry department, ChemGen IGERT and Chemistry graduate student Jolene K. Diedrich has published a paper in the August 19, 2008 issue of the Journal of American Chemistry Society titled: "Site-Specific Radical Directed Dissociation of Peptides at Phosphorylated Residues." The paper summarizes a new photofragmentation approach for identifying phosphorylation sites in proteins, paving the way for further investigation into the role of phosphorylation as a signaling mechanism in plant cells. The article was also highlighted in Chemical and Engineering News (C&EN) on August 25, 2008. The article and the highlight can be accessed through the following links:


ChemGen IGERT Student Kayla Kaiser Participates in the NSF 2008 IGERT Program Meeting in Arlington, VA

The 2008 IGERT Project Meeting was held May 18-20, 2008 at the Westin Arlington Gateway. The aims of the annual IGERT project meetings are to have trainees and PIs (1of each from the various IGERT programs) attend and share their research and educational experiences. Kayla Kaiser (graduate student) and Sean Cutler (co-PI) from UCR attended this annual meeting. For further information about the 2008 IGERT Program Meeting and Kayla's activities and observations from the meeting, please visit the following:


ChemGen IGERT Associate Director Sean Cutler Discusses Chemical Genomics on ReachMD Radio XM157

ReachMD Radio Segment

On a segment titled "The Fruit Fly of Plants -- Testing Drugs on Plants" on ReachMD Radio XM157, ChemGen IGERT Associate Director and Plant Cell Biologist Sean Cutler discusses how scientists can learn about drugs and their side effects on humans by studying their impact on the model plant, Arabidopsis thaliana. As part of the "Innovations in Medicine" series hosted by Paul Raeburn and directed at medical professionals, Dr. Cutler talks about the benefits of studying Arabidopsis thaliana due to its common occurrence, small genome properties, simple and fast growth cycle, and low cost.

Listen to Dr. Cutler discuss how chemicals are being used on Arabidopsis to identify new genes responsible for controlling "pharmocogenetic variation," or the variable human responses elicited from drugs, and how his lab is using this knowledge to control the growth and development of organisms and further our understanding of how complex organisms work.


ChemGen IGERT Student Colleen Knoth Receives 8th Annual W.W. Thomson Award for Outstanding Research

At the annual Botany & Plant Sciences Research Retreat at the Botanic Gardens on May 11, 2007, CEPCEB ChemGen IGERT Graduate Student Colleen Knoth was awarded the 8th Annual W.W. Thomson Award for Outstanding Research. This cash award in the amount of $1200 is presented annually to a Ph.D. and/or Master's student in the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences who has demonstrated academic excellence and achievement in research. The award is named after William (Bill) W. Thomson, a retired faculty member from the Botany & Plant Sciences department who, upon retirement in 1999, established the W. W. Thomson Award fund.  Professor Thomas developed a distinguished research record, focusing on the relationships between the structure of plant cells and their function.  He is a world-renowned leader in the application of electron microscopy to the study of plant cell structure. Congratulations to Colleen on this well-deserved recognition!

Colleen Knoth's research program

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Center for Plant Cell Biology
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E-mail: genomics@ucr.edu