Esmeralda Alcala

OU Major: 
Microbiology
Research Mentor: 
Swadhin Swain, Ben F. Holt III
Describe your undergraduate research or creative project: 
Plants have extraordinary ability to sense and respond to their surrounding environment. Environmental factors such as light profoundly influence plant growth and development. Identifying the genes and understanding their function in light perception and signaling is essential for improvements in crop engineering. Despite numerous efforts, our understanding about light signaling in plants is incomplete. Recently, the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana demonstrated that NUCLEAR FACTOR Y (NF-Y), a heterotrimeric transcription factor, has a novel function in light perception. To create an in-depth understanding, genetic screening was carried out in the background of a known quadruple mutant, nf-yc3 nf-yc4 nf-yc9 hy5, to discover the genes involved in the NF-Y mediated light signal transduction. In the future, characterization of those genes will lead to a more complete understanding of the light signaling mechanism in plants.
Explain what you learned or give advice to fellow students: 
From my experience, I have learned the procedures for forward genetic screening, the time sensitive data collecting, and planning ahead. My advice to fellow students is to not be afraid or intimidated to ask and reach out to people.
Awards and/or presentations: 
Published Work: 

n/a