Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Cindy Chau Rose Hills

Amino Acid Sensing In The TOR Pathway Of Plants

The presence of nutrients such as amino acids, glucose, or nitrogen and varying growth factors is hypothesized to activate the target of rapamycin (TOR) which initiates eukaryotic cell growth, development, and metabolism. Although TOR is extremely significant to plant cells growth and metabolism, little is still understood about TOR signaling within plants. As such, my project proposal investigates Asparaginyl tRNA synthetase 1 (NRS1) and its likelihood as an amino acid sensor that can stimulate TOR pathways and its importance for plant development. Comprehending how plants can sense the presence of amino acids and then activate TOR is central to breeding crops that are not as affected by nitrogen deficiencies in soil and can survive, despite lacking nutrients or poor growth factors. With the results of my research project, further research can be done to possibly confirm the importance of NRS1 in the promotion of TOR activity and establish and define the relationship between nitrogen availability and TOR activity.

Message To Sponsor

Being given the opportunity to be funding by this fellowship has changed my undergraduate career immensely. I would have never thought that I would be able to carry out an independent research project within my career, and SURF and the Rose Hills Foundation made that possible. I learned many new molecular biology techniques and I also learned how to speak in public and convey my findings to a larger audience. This is an experience that I will never forget, and being able to do this was a life changing experience.
Major: Molecular and Environmental Biology
Mentor: Nanticha Lutt
Sponsor: Rose Hills Independent
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