Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Viktoriya Georgieva L&S Biological Sciences

Promoter Engineering for Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency

With the current state of escalating climate emergency, generation of plants with improved ability to sequester carbon is of high priority. The Rieske subunit of the cytochrome b6f complex is a known rate-limiting step in photosynthesis. This protein, encoded for by the PetC gene, is found to increase photosynthetic efficiency upon overexpression in plants, demonstrating potential for increased carbon sequestration.

However, due to current restrictions on GMOs, overexpression needs to be achieved nontransgenically to create a practical impact. Given that this has yet to be attempted, this project aims to overexpress PetC in rice, one of the most widely-grown crops. This will be achieved via insertion of cis-regulatory elements (CREs)—short sequences that bind transcription factors to regulate gene expression— into the native promoter, with the overarching goals to further climate change mitigation and inform future promoter CRE engineering efforts in crops.

Message To Sponsor

I am incredibly excited to be able to pursue this research, and especially thankful for your support that makes this a reality! With your generosity and contribution, I promise to work to the best of my ability to further the field of plant biology and promoter engneering!
Major: Molecular and Cell Biology
Mentor: Dave Savage
Sponsor: CACSSF
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