CTAHR NEWS

Fast Track to Research Success

  • 6 September 2018
  • Author: Frederika Bain
  • Number of views: 4647
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Fast Track to Research Success

Alumna Margaret Baker (MBBE) was recently awarded the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Education and Literacy Initiative (AFRI ELI) postdoctoral research fellowship from NIFA. Her research explores the function of protein N-glycosylation in cereal crops, using the model grass purple false brome (Brachypodium distachyon). As a PhD student at CTAHR, Margaret received a doctoral fellowship from NIFA to support her research. She developed bioinformatics and mass spectrometry procedures to study sugar attachment on protein (glycosylation) and glycosylation structure–function relationships of palm peroxidases, research that resulted in an impressive number of journal articles, conference presentations, and a book chapter. This new post-doctoral fellowship is allowing Margaret to use the analytical methodologies she developed to study how the cell wall is synthesized and the function of glycosylation in cell-wall synthesis. Few people study the function of protein N-glycosylation in cereal crops, so this work is very significant to crop responses to abiotic stresses and biomass production. Nor are these Margaret’s only honors. As a grad student, she and two teammates competed in MIT’s prestigious International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Competition, featuring 84 teams from 21 countries, and were selected as the Best Rookie Team, winning a Bronze Medal in the competition. Margaret won the top award in CTAHR’s 2011 Student Research Symposium and the prestigious Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) scholarship in Tropical Agriculture. Charly Kinoshita writes, “I can’t imagine a more deserving and promising applicant to receive AFRI’s ELI Postdoctoral Fellowship.”

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