Lucas McKinnon, first author of Membrane Chaperoning of a Thylakoid Protease whose structural stability is modified by the Protonmotive force
Current Position: PhD candidate at University of California, Davis
Education: PhD in Plant Biology (expected March 2020), B.S. in Biological Sciences (UC Davis, 2013)
Non-scientific Interests: Hiking, video games, playing guitar, cooking, Sci-Fi movies
Brief bio: My passions for plant biology and plant research started when I took my first college botany class, and the variety of plant biology courses I took as an undergraduate inspired me to pursue a PhD in plant biology. I was first exposed to plant molecular biology research as an undergraduate at UC Davis where I was involved in projects studying plant cell walls and looking at ways to manipulate them for biotechnological purposes. I began studying the Plsp1 thylakoid membrane protein in my first year as a PhD student and took on a couple of related projects, one of which culminated in the work published in this article. Working on this protein challenged me to grow as a scientist in a number of ways and exposed me to a wide variety of experimental tools and approaches in plant science, biotechnology, and the study of membrane proteins. The experiments described in our manuscript, as well as several other preliminary experiments, significantly improved my ability to develop questions and design and carry out experiments, and it greatly expanded my knowledge in several fields of research. Aside from my passion for research, I also have an equal passion for teaching undergraduate students, particularly in biochemistry and biology. When I am doing neither of these things, I enjoy spending time with my wife and two energetic young sons.