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Biology student presents at plant bio conference in Oregon

Published on August 02, 2022

Biology student presents at plant bio conference in Oregon

Megan Piechowicz Honors Biology major Megan Piechowicz presented at the recent American Society of Plant Biology (ASPB) conference in Portland, OR, from July 9 -13.

“My research explores the presence of flavonoid compounds, such as anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins, in the model legume plant Medicago truncatula,” said Piechowicz. “These mutants were derived from the insertion of the tnt1 retrotransposon from tobacco.

“I have characterized the phenotypic differences of two black seed and two white seed mutants, when compared to the wild-type plant. I have also used genomic sequence information to locate where insertions of this retrotransposon have occurred.”

Piechowicz continued, “The majority of insertions occur in the exons, indicating that one of these insertions may be causative to the phenotypic differences. My next steps include analyzing the gene atlas, to see which genes are responsible for differences in each region of the plant. I will also need to complete extraction of genomic DNA from these mutant lines, to complete RT-PCR analysis.”

Piechowicz is grateful for the research and mentorship opportunities she has received as an undergraduate student. “Research at Eastern has shaped my academic abilities and opportunities, especially through the standards of the Honors Program.”

Following Eastern, Piechowicz aspires to pursue a master’s degree in genetic counseling on her way to becoming a genetic counselor.

“I am beyond thankful for the mentorship I have received throughout the Biology Department, as it is helping me to follow the path to achieve my career goals. I love being part of a small and immersive learning group.”

Written by Michael Rouleau