Recognizing Plant Physiology authors: Robert Orr

Robert Orr, first author of Robust survival-based RNAi of gene families using in tandem silencing of adenine phosphoribosyltransferase

Current Position: Ph.D. Candidate and Research Assistant in Luis Vidali’s laboratory at Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Education: Ph.D. Candidate in Biology and Biotechnology at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA, USA; B.A. in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology at University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA

Non-scientific Interests: reading, exercise, games, travel, cinema

Brief bio: I was introduced to the world of scientific research during my freshman year when I volunteered in the laboratory of Dr. Glenn Gaudette, a faculty member of the Biomedical Engineering department at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. I was hooked, and I returned as a summer intern every year! Following graduation, I worked as his lab manager and research technician where we investigated the use of induced pluripotent stem cells to functionally replace the damaged myocardium following a heart attack. This experience was invaluable, but I knew I wanted to pursue basic research in cell biology. I joined the lab of Dr. Luis Vidali for my Ph.D., as I loved the rigorous and quantitative approach Luis applies to address fundamental questions in plant cell biology. During my time in the Vidali lab, I have investigated the mechanism of polarized trafficking in tip growing cells, as well as developed a positive selection-based RNAi technology that I hope will benefit the community as much as it has benefited our lab.