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2 biology students present in plant biology conference

Published on November 09, 2021

2 biology students present in plant biology conference

Biology student Kate Arildsen

Biology student Catrina Sullivan

Eastern Connecticut State University biology students Kate Arildsen and Catrina Sullivan presented at the 85th Annual Meeting of the Northeastern Section of the American Society of Plant Biologists (NE-ASPB), held virtually on Oct. 30.

NE-ASPB is an organization that gives faculty, students and other scholars the chance to share their research findings in the study of plant biology. Presenters shared their projects orally or in poster format and focused on the subject matter “plant responses to environmental pollutants.”

Arildsen won a best speaker award for her oral presentation titled “Phenotypic Characterization and mRNA Expression Analysis of a Novel Deregulated Anthocyanin Pigmentation Mutant in Medicago truncatula.” Her project explored the flavonoid compounds of anthocyanins that are created in different parts of the plants such as the stem, leaf, fruits and other sections. “We’ve identified a novel mutant that produces anthocyanin in a very different way than the normal plant does,” said Arildsen in describing more than 4,000 mutations that occur in plants. 

Sullivan's poster presentation was tiltled “Characterization of Medicago truncatula Plant Mutants Defective in Symbiotic Nitrogen Fixation.” The purpose of Sullivan’s research was to identify novel genes involved with symbiotic nitrogen fixation and nodule development within legumes.

The students were advised by Biology Professor Vijaykumar Veerappan. “Doing research with Dr. Veerappan was an amazing learning experience, and I am so grateful for the knowledge I have gained over the past few semesters,” said Sullivan. Arildsen added, “Dr. Veerappan was a huge help in getting me ready for the talk and calming my nerves. I definitely wouldn’t have been as confident even giving a talk without his guidance and encouragement."

Written by Bobbi Brown