The Gordon H. and Alice C. Fraser Endowment Fund for Plant Biology, established in 2014, has provided six undergraduate student summer fellowships, five graduate student research awards, and five faculty research awards.
In 2016, two undergraduate researchers created a project for presentation at the International Society for Molecular Plant Microbe Interactions annual meeting. Associate Professor of Biology, Anu Singh- Cundy and graduate student Jenna Brooks (’17) also used the endowment funds for research about the Solanaceae (tomato) family.” Singh-Cundy said of the funding, “The goals of Jenna’s MS thesis would not have been met without the grant support we received from the Fraser Endowment.” Brooks and Singh-Cundy are preparing a manuscript for publication that describes Brooks’ findings.
The endowment provided training in a variety of methods not taught in Singh-Cundy’s lab classes. The grant has contributed to cutting-edge training of STEM scholars and the education of industrial research leaders — Brooks is now director of the molecular diagnostics department in Exact Sciences, a testing company. Singh-Cundy says, “We continue to make new discoveries in my lab, and we believe this project will yield a new paradigm for polarized cell expansion in plants, with exciting applications in agronomy and agroforestry.”