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McNair Scholars Program

Hannah Lusk, M.S.

She/her

Education: Bachelor of Science in biochemistry (May 2019)

Master of Science in biochemistry from Kansas State University

Currently pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in chemistry at the University of California, Santa Cruz

Research: Identification and Characterization of Arabidopsis Mutant Lacking Glycerolipid Assembly in the Chloroplast (2017)

Mentor: Ruth Welti, Ph.D.

Lipid analysis of leaves from the Arabidopsis T-DNA insertion line Salk_109175C revealed a significantly decreased ratio between two monogalactosydiacylglycerol molecular species, MGDG(18:3/16:3) and MGDG(18:3/18:3), as well as other lipid alterations, consistent with the mutant lacking the ability to assemble galactolipids in the chloroplast. Salk_109175C has an insertion in the gene At5g64790, which is mostly expressed in pollen. To confirm that the lipid phenotype observed was due to the known insertion, the Salk line was crossed to WT and the heterozygous progeny of this cross were self-pollinated to obtain an F2 generation. Analyzing the F2 generation to identify plants with the altered lipid composition and genotyping to identify plants containing the insertion in At5g64790 demonstrated that the insertion mutation and the lipid phenotype were not linked. These results indicate that the mutation causing the phenotype must be in another gene. We are using map-based cloning to identify the locus associated the lipid compositional alterations and conducting phenotypic assays to study the effect of this alteration on plant physiology.