Students Help UT Researcher Find Natural Alternative to Pesticides

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Undergraduate students will get hands-on experience conducting research with Kim Gwinn, a associate professor in entomology and plant pathology at University of Tennessee, Knoxville, by investigating chemical compounds produced by plants and how they can be used to control pests and work as a replacements for synthetic pesticides. Students will help Gwinn identify natural products from native plants and microorganisms that could help control fungi.

The students are participating in the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program organized by National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS — pronounced “NIM-bus”). Students will be setting up a dilution series of chemicals and then, in a sterile hood, apply the chemical to paper discs and put a drop of a fungal spore suspension on a glass slide. It all take place at 3 p.m. Wednesday, June 30, at Gwinn’s lab in the Plant Biotechnology Building on the Agriculture Campus.

These eighteen undergraduate students are conducting research for the REU and Research Experience for Veterinary (REV) programs from June 7 to July 30. Using data from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the undergraduate researchers — all majoring in math, biology, veterinary science and related fields — are living on campus and working in teams with UT Knoxville professors on various research projects. The organizer, NIMBioS, is located on the UT Knoxville campus, and fosters new collaborative efforts to investigate biological questions using mathematical and computational methods.

C O N T A C T :

Catherine Crawley (865-974-9350, ccrawley@nimbios.org)

Whitney Holmes (865-974-5460, wholmes7@utk.edu)

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