Life Updates: Lots of Bio and Back to School
Winterim has zoomed by and I'm so ready to begin a new term, probably filled to the brim with classes, extracurriculars, and lots and lots of skiing (one of the many perks of Dartmouth's location), but—first—I'll give a little bit of info what I did over winter break.
After taking cell biology with Professor Benzanilla, who works on plants, I decided to take a look into the fascinating world of plant biology, so I started with some background reading. Clicking through the seemingly endless world of Wikipedia pages, I came upon the study of plant perception, which sounds totally crazy but is an actual thing (you can look it up)! I got so genuinely interested in the idea that plants—which we think of as totally unintelligent lifeforms—can actively perceive their environment, so I started writing an article about it for DUJS: the Dartmouth Undergraduate Journal of Science.
The first draft of my article emphasizes some of the aspects I found most interesting within the larger idea of plant intelligence, with special stress placed on the cellular processes that allow for plants to actively perceive certain stimuli. I focused in on 2 main topics: plant perception of touch and gravity as well as plant memory. While doing some pretty hardcore research into the cellular mechanisms that underlie plant perception and responses, I kept on stumbling across a couple of really cool plant hormones: cytokinin and ethylene, which I recognized from one of the research listings in the biology department. I reached out to the principal investigator through an email and got a response a couple of hours later. The lab, called the Phytohormone Signaling Laboratory, is run by Professor Schaller and studies the pathways that allow plants to respond to ethylene and cytokinin. Given the pandemic, the lab isn't able to offer undergraduates access to bench research but is currently involved in some computational research, which I'm so enthusiastic to be involved with.
That brings us up all the way to the present! I'm towards the end of learning some basic programming skills and am so excited for the rest of the term. Academically, I'm taking three really cool classes: Gene Expression and Regulation in the Biology department, Evolution of Life and Earth in the Earth Science department, and Jewish Culture and New York in the Jewish Studies department. I'll make sure to keep you guy updated about my life this term, from winter outdoor activities in the Upper Valley to jam-packed days in the life. Get hype!