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URSS Project: Reshma Ajith

The "5 W" of my URSS project


Who? Hi, I’m Reshma Ajith, I am an undergraduate student studying biomedical sciences at the University of Warwick.

Why? I have chosen to complete my URSS project in a lab, to provide insight into what a career as a researcher could be like; to prepare me for the rest of my degree, particularly for labs.

Where? I will be working in Professor Grant’s group; they tackle disease-related problems in horticulture. This allows me to see what research in plant sciences would be like.

When? My project will last 10 weeks, from beginning of July to half September.

What? I will be working on PhD student Laura Clivolani’s project, characterising chloroplast protein mutant lines to better understand the plant immune system. As of now, scientists know that during infection two separate immune responses PTI and ETI are triggered in the plant. Chloroplasts have been recently discovered as a central player in the plant immune system since the production of ROS (reactive oxygen species) during the defence for the PTI response. Previous publications from Professor Grant’s group have demonstrated pathogen effectors target the chloroplast to stop ROS production. Thanks to proteomic analysis, several proteins have been classified as possible targets of the pathogen, and molecular and phenotype characterisation of mutant lines for these proteins needs to be carried on. The plant studied is Arabidopsis thaliana because of its small genome and rapid life cycle - in 6 weeks we are ready to treat the plant!

During the project, I will be learning various lab techniques and analysing data generated that will allow me to genotype and phenotype plant lines. This will help us to understand the susceptibility of chloroplast mutant lines. Hence, providing more quantitative evidence that certain proteins play a key role in the chloroplast during an immune response.

Are you curious about my lab journey? Here for you my weekly journal.