Jennifer Lewis, Professor

Closed (1) Plant innate immunity in response to bacterial pathogens

Applications for Fall 2017 are now closed for this project.

The plant pathogen Pseudomonas syringae causes disease in a large number of different plant species, using the type III secretion system to secrete and translocate effector proteins into the plant. Many of these effector proteins are believed to function primarily in the suppression of host defense signaling. However recognition of these effector proteins by resistance (R) proteins induces a defense response. The YopJ / HopZ family of effector proteins is a common and widely distributed effector family found in both animal and plant pathogenic bacteria. The P. syringae HopZ family includes three major allele types (one ancestral and two brought in by horizontal gene transfer) whose diversification was driven by the host defense response (Ma et al., 2006). We previously demonstrated that virulence and avirulence phenotypes in Arabidopsis are strongly allele-specific and that the ZAR1 resistance protein recognizes HopZ1a in Arabidopsis (Lewis et al., 2008; Lewis et al., 2010).

The Lewis lab seeks highly motivated undergraduate students to pursue research on the genetic diversity of Arabidopsis to P. syringae. The candidate will participate in genetic screens to identify mutants that lack recognition of specific effector proteins. The candidate will work closely with the lab’s principal investigator, Dr. Jennifer Lewis, and team members.

The student will be responsible for:
- making sterile plant media
- sowing out seeds on plant media
- preparation of soil for transplanting
- transplanting seedlings to soil
- preparation of bacteria
- infiltration of bacteria into plants
- observation of phenotypes induced by bacteria in plants
- maintaining a detailed lab notebook
- reading and understanding assigned readings
- contributing to the smooth operation of the lab
- working cooperatively with lab members
- maintaining a courteous and safe laboratory environment

Successful completion of the project will require:
- satisfactory (and preferably excellent) lab work, including an ability to take direction, carry out tasks to completion, punctuality and completion of agreed upon hours
- maintenance of a detailed and neat lab notebook, including writing detailed protocols, observations and general organization of project
- demonstrated understanding of assigned readings

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Jana Hassan, Staff Researcher

Qualifications: The student should strongly interested in learning and conducting basic research in plant pathology. A solid understanding of genetics and molecular biology is necessary for this project. The student should have taken BIO 1A and 1B, CHEM 1A or 4A or equivalent, and a biochemistry class. The student should be highly motivated, conscientious, able to work independently and as part of a team, and carry out experiments to completion. A class schedule that accommodates 3-4 hour blocks of time is necessary for conducting the experiments.

Weekly Hours: 9-12 hrs

Off-Campus Research Site: Plant Gene Expression Center
800 Buchanan St.
Albany, CA

Related website: http://lewislab.berkeley.edu/

Closed (2) Programming tools to understand plant-pathogen interactions

Applications for Fall 2017 are now closed for this project.

The plant pathogen Pseudomonas syringae causes disease in a large number of different plant species. Virulence is primarily achieved by the type III secretion system, which secretes and translocates effector proteins into the plant. Many of these effector proteins are believed to suppress host defense signaling. However recognition of these effector proteins by resistance (R) proteins induces a defense response.

The Lewis lab seeks undergraduate students to assist in developing programming and bioinformatics tools to investigate plant responses to bacterial pathogens. The candidate will develop scripts, databases and/or web tools. The candidate will work closely with the lab’s principal investigator, Dr. Jennifer Lewis, and team members.

The student will be responsible for:
- developing programming scripts
- developing databases
- developing web tools
- maintaining a detailed lab notebook
- reading and understanding assigned readings
- contributing to the smooth operation of the lab
- working cooperatively with lab members
- maintaining a courteous and safe laboratory environment

Successful completion of the project will require:
- satisfactory (and preferably excellent) lab work, including an ability to take direction, carry out tasks to completion, punctuality and completion of agreed upon hours
- maintenance of a detailed and neat lab notebook, including writing detailed protocols, observations and general organization of project
- demonstrated understanding of assigned readings

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Jana Hassan, Staff Researcher

Qualifications: The student should have demonstrated skills in programming and bioinformatics, including relevant coursework in these areas. They should be strongly interested in applying these skills to plant pathology. The student should be highly motivated, conscientious, able to work independently and as part of a team, and carry out experiments to completion. A class schedule that accommodates 3-4 hour blocks of time is necessary.

Weekly Hours: 9-12 hrs

Related website: http://lewislab.berkeley.edu/