Dr. Dongfang Wang, Assistant Professor of Biology, has been accepted in the Visiting Faculty Program (VFP) which is sponsored and managed by the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists (WDTS). The VFP seeks to increase the research competitiveness of faculty members and their students at institutions historically underrepresented in the research community in order to expand the workforce vital to the DOE mission areas. As part of the program, Dr. Wang will spend 10 weeks at the Oakridge National Laboratory in Oakridge, Tennessee. The title of her project, “Analysis of Lectin Receptor-Like Kinases during Root-Microbe Interaction in Populus” will focus on the cell signaling events that underly plant-fungi interaction. Mycorrhizal fungi live on the sugars secreted by plant roots. In return, the presence of the fungi helps the plant absorb more nutrients and water from the soil. This symbiosis requires a cell surface receptor produced by the host plant. A better understanding of how this receptor works in cottonwood will further the development of strategies to improve the plants’ health and tolerance to stresses such as drought.
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