Baker, Dr. Stokes

Title of Research Project:

Plant-Microbe Interactions with Aquatic Plants

Research Description:

My laboratory investigates the role bacteria have on helping aquatic plants absorb nutrients. This process is important because aquatic plants like duckweed are linchpins in aquatic environments and are also used in industrial and agricultural processes. Several approaches are used to investigate the organisms. One involves inoculating axenic (sterile) lines duckweed with pure bacteria stains do determine if they help the plants grow. Another approach is to use biochemical assays to characterize bacteria stains. We also use next generation sequencing technology to study the microbes associated with the plants. Metagenomics methodologies have been used to characterize the bacterial community growing on wild duckweed. Additionally, the genomes of some bacteria have been sequenced and their DNA sequences are currently being annotated.

If there is important prerequisite knowledge/skills required for students, please describe below:

Though my laboratory is conducting ecological research, the approaches that are used are applicable to several biomedical disciplines, such as microbiology, molecular genetics, epidemiology, and dentistry (i.e., the mouth contains a rich microbial community). I try to match students with projects that correspond to their interests and background. In my laboratory, students will gain skills with bench chemistry, sterile technique, microbiology and bioinformatics