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The Young Scholars Program is a six-week internship session designed to extend research opportunities to high school students who are interested in expanding their laboratory experience. Young Scholars learn the research process through data collection, statistical analysis, and lectures. Participants are in charge of creating an experimental design, evaluating data, and presenting the results. The goal is to teach students how to conduct original research and design an individual project with the assistance of an experienced researcher all while growing their network with other researchers. At the end of the program, the Young Scholars explain their research design in a written article and present the findings at a research symposium.
During the summer of 2019 the Young Scholar, Emma Hsu, collaborated with Dr. Kluepfel and Dr. Ali McClean on a walnut research project focused on Agrobacterium tumefaciens, the causal agent of crown gall disease which is a major disease of walnut in California.
Emma Hsu, Young Scholar, characterized the ability of thirty California walnut isolates of Agrobacterium tumefaciens isolates to use thirty-one different carbon sources. Four carbon sources were identified that supported measurable growth of most of the isolates. Two isolates were identified that were better able to utilize these four carbon sources than the other bacteria. Three isolates were identified that were less able to use these carbon sources than the main group.
These "outlier" isolates were further tested for sensitivity to a commercial biocontrol product used to prevent A. tumefaciens mediated crown gall disease. The isolates were also tested for motility under nutrient limiting conditions on Stonier's medium.