Friday, April 19, 2024

A team of graduate students at PSM learn more than science in publishing new research

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Maria Gill
Maria Gill
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Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences –

In two new papers, PSM graduate students Becky Harkness, Jill Cheek, and Lexi Heger show how choices made during the design and implementation of samples can influence results—and how recognizing this influence is crucial for researchers.

in It's a trap! Exploring the application of rotary arm impact samplers in plant pathology PSM graduate students Becky Harkness, Jill Cheek, and Lexi Heger describe how to design a project, plan an experiment, and process samples, providing a comprehensive discussion of the factors that influence the dispersion of pathogens and how the placement of rotary-arm air samplers changes the capture process. Deploy across many field systems and to any type of user.

“Air samplers are discussed in our review paper, as well as the accompanying article (“It's a Trap! Part II: A User-Friendly Guide to Building and Using Rotary Arm Air Samplers for Plant Pathologists” Plant diseases) They can be used to investigate the dispersal and movement of pathogens any “Ecosystem: Lexi deployed her air samplers in the vineyards, Jill used her air samplers in the cornfields, and I used her air samplers in the forest,” Becky says.

In addition to the science, the team knew that these projects would require years of working together. “We put a lot of time into creating something that we felt would be useful to many researchers, yet everyone was helpful and remained friendly throughout the process,” says Becky.

Like agriculture, it requires graduate studies a lot Of flexibility says Becky. “A big part of investigating things no one has studied before is failure.” Something they may not have known would be part of the process. “Part of graduate school is learning how to recover from failed experiments and rejected research and not letting those experiences slow you down,” Jill adds.

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while The review process was difficult, and they had to empathize with each other. We've been through so many highs and lows with this manuscript and I think we're grateful that we can have fun when we get together now, instead of writing this! Lexi says.

With this paper behind them, these students look forward to the final months of their graduate experience: Becky He is approaching graduation in 2025, focusing on evolutionary and epidemiological investigations of Calycopsis canker in North America, while daydreaming about postdoctoral positions in forest health or mycology. generation: Also spring 2025, starting a 6-month internship with Corteva in April. Jill is working on tar spot in corn and white mold in soybeans, dry beans, and potatoes and aims to prepare a dissertation titled “Epidemiology and Management of Field Crop Diseases in Michigan.” Lexi: We hope she will be with us at least through 2025 as she pursues “Another Day, Another Germs to Catch: Detecting and Managing Devastating Pathogens in Michigan Vineyards.”

“I learned a lot from the diverse researchers in our department and made friends from all over the world,” says Becky.

generation: The best part of graduate school is being surrounded by other students who are equally passionate about science!

Lexi: I think the best part of grad school is being surrounded by people who are “nerds” like me and enjoy being surrounded by knowledge/learning. Everyone here enjoys science and having conversations about the cool plant they bought or the latest sourdough recipe they learned. People make hard times better.

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