Research interns prep for graduate school

July 22, 2013
Contact Information:

Burt Bluhm, Department of Plant Pathology
479-575-2677, bbluhm@uark.edu

Fred Miller, Agricultural Communication Services
479-575-5647, fmiller@uark.edu

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weis, alford, salazar and neios

The 2013 Adair Program interns are, from left, Kari Weis of Highland, Ill; Brynn Alford of Rogers; Collin Salazar of Hot Springs; and Ioannis Neios of Thessaloniki, Greece.
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kari weis

Kari Weis of Highland, Ill., transfers pathogens from soybean root samples to growth medium. She is working with plant pathologist John Rupe to test the effects of high temperature and seed quality on soybean seedling diseases.
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Collin Salazar

Collin Salazar of Hot Springs examines the growth of a fungal pathogen from a celery plant. He is working with plant pathologist Jim Correll to test disease resistance in celery and tomatoes.
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Ioannis Neios

Ioannis Neios of Thessaloniki, Greece, is working with plant pathologist Yannis Tzanetakis, looking for new or unknown viruses that cause disease in strawberries.
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Brynn Alford

Brynn Alford of Rogers prepares genetic samples for analysis. She is working with plant pathologist Ken Korth to determine if the release of insect-deterring chemicals from plant leaves and roods is induced by insect activity on the plants.
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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Brynn Alford of Rogers; Collin Salazar of Hot Springs; Kari Weis of Highland, Ill.; and Ioannis Neios of Thessaloniki, Greece, are conducting graduate-level research through a summer internship program in Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences at the University of Arkansas.

The four undergraduate students' projects contribute to ongoing agricultural research conducted by the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, just as they would if they were enrolled in agricultural graduate programs at the university.

Offered by the Department of Plant Pathology, the Adair program gives upper level undergraduate students the opportunity to conduct real research that contributes to agricultural science in Arkansas, said Dr. Burt Bluhm, program coordinator.

Each Adair participant takes on an independent research project, Bluhm said. They have a faculty advisor, but the students design and carry out their experiments.

Because plant pathology doesn’t have an undergraduate program, Bluhm said, Adair helps draw students from other fields by introducing them to the discipline. It also encourages undergraduates to pursue an advanced degree by exposing them to graduate-level research.

Alford is majoring in biology and Spanish at Ouachita Baptist University at Arkadelphia. During her Adair internship, she is working with Dr. Ken Korth to study the release of chemicals by plants to deter insect pests. She is trying to determine if the plants release the chemicals from leaves and roots in response to insect activity on the plant, or by some other trigger.

Salazar is majoring in horticulture in Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences at the University of Arkansas. He's working with Dr. Jim Correll on two projects related to disease resistance in plants. He is studying whether tomato plants that are normally susceptible to disease from the pathogen Fusarium oxysporum lycopersicii become resistant when the plants are grafted onto rootstock from resistant plants. In a related project, he is testing celery varieties to find plants with resistance to the pathogen Colletotrichum acutatun.

Weis is majoring in plant science and agricultural journalism at the University of Missouri. For her Adair internship she is working with Dr. John Rupe on a project to how temperature and seed quality affect the growth and spread of diseases in soybean seedlings.

Neios is majoring in agriculture at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. This summer he’s working with Dr. Yannis Tzanetakis on a genetic search for new or unknown diseases in strawberries.

Bluhm said plant pathology graduates find jobs in multinational industries, educational institutions and other related jobs.