The American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) awarded Sean Rogers, sophomore Biochemistry student, a 2014 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF). The funding is awarded to undergraduate students allowing them to conduct meaningful research in plant biology during the early part of their college careers. SURF recipients are expected to present their research at ASPB’s annual Plant Biology meeting in the year following the fellowship award and research completion.
Rogers became interested in research through a program called the Freshman Researchers in Plant Science (FRIPS) which requires its students to be in a lab that studies plants.
“I chose to research plant immunity because it involves looking at things on a molecular scale, which really interested me at the time,” Rogers said. “Also, many people overlook the importance of plant research. We need more food for the earth’s growing population and, realizing this, I was intrigued by plant research. My favorite part about this research is that I get to come to work every day to a job that I love. I love doing biochemistry and I love working with plants. I never thought that I would be working on plant research, let alone plant immunity against bacteria!”
Rogers is helped with his research by his mentor, Antje Heese, assistant professor of agricultural biochemistry.
“During the academic year we meet about every other week to talk about my recent research steps and data,” Rogers said. “Also, I work with a postdoctoral, Michelle Leslie, who acts as my daily mentor. Michelle monitors my work from day to day in order to make sure I know what I should be doing and that I understand why I am performing certain research steps.”
Rogers is a native of Lebanon, Mo., and is a member of the Biochemistry Club and an Undergraduate Research Ambassador.