Laura S. Lopez: Plant Direct First Author

Laura S. Lopez, first author of “The Arabidopsis T-DNA mutant SALK_008491 carries a 14 kb deletion on chromosome 3 that provides rare insights into the plant response to dynamic light stress”

Current Position: 2nd year medical student, Washington State University College of Medicine

Education: B.S. Genetics and Cell Biology, Washington State University and MSc. Molecular Plant biology, Washington State University

Non-scientific interest: being around people, health equity

Brief Bio: I got introduced to molecular plant biology because of my first lab job during my undergraduate studies. Here, my job was to fraction chloroplast membranes from wild-type Arabidopsis plants and loss-of-function mutants in the same species. I was fascinated to learn how to genetically engineer the model plant and to understand how light harvesting works in plants. After my undergraduate studies, I transitioned to graduate school. During my mentorship under Dr. Kunz, my understanding of plant genetics expanded. Through genomic sequencing, cloning, and plant transformations, I got immersed into the molecular world, which continues to excite me! My published article in Plant Direct incorporates phenotyping experiments performed with self-built fluctuating light chamber. Through combined bioinformatics data analyses, I was able to gain insights into the synergistic function of two chloroplast genes in response to dynamic light. To me, working on this publication has been a true pleasure. It allowed me to collaborate with amazing people with incredible minds. Plus, through our work, we can contribute knowledge that can be used to improve adaptation of our future crops which are challenged by climate change and increasingly adverse growth conditions.