Written by Abigail Kamke
This January, I was selected to attend the 2020 Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol. I and four other Kansas State University students were chosen by the Office of Undergraduate Research & Creative Inquiry for this honor. In the couple months prior to the event, I was able to finish extracting the microbial DNA of the Colby site, Andropogon gerardii root samples. With the aid of the K-State Integrated Genomics Facility, we were able to get quick DNA sequencing results. Finally, with help from my wonderful Lee Lab team, I was able to put together a detailed research poster to present.
On March 4th, I headed to the Capitol Building in Topeka, KS. We were directed to the beautiful 2nd floor of the Capitol Rotunda for setting up our posters. Pictures were taken with my fellow KSU students, and then certificates were awarded to the student presenters from each of the Kansas Board of Regents (KBOR) public four-year universities. After a short break to view the other students’ research posters, the poster session began. I was able to speak to lobbyists, senators, and house representatives involved in our Kansas legislature. Dan Kerschen, the senator from my home district whom I had sent a personal invitation to, went out of his way to meet with me and hear about my research. It was a very rewarding experience to present my research about a vital prairie grass facing the effects of climate change to our legislature. Without this grass, we would lose a main soil erosion combatant and a major livestock food source. It was wonderful to be given a chance to speak out about the necessary research the Lee Lab is undergoing to preserve our Kansas prairies.
Written by Lauren Anderson.
The main project our lab has been focusing on especially our undergraduate students is the topic of plant-soil microbiome specifically the rhizosphere and phyllosphere microbial composition in relation to the microbiome function for climate variation across the Great Plains grassland. Our team has collected many samples across Kansas and southern Illinois. We have been extracting DNA from those samples and have sent them to be sequenced for further analysis. The goal of this research project is to understand the host-microbial interactions in relation to the functions of the plant corresponding to different climate conditions and how it may enhance its drought resistance.
Abigail Kamke, pictured above, is one of our undergraduate research students that is involved with her part focusing on the rhizobiome diversity and its impact on drought resistant in Andropogon geradii. She personally worked on the rhizosphere portion specifically the samples that were collected from Colby, Kansas. Due to her exceptional work, she was selected as one of the five undergraduate research students from Kansas State University to go to the undergraduate research day the Capital in Topeka. In Topeka, she will present them with her findings and results from her research project along with many other undergraduate students across the state of Kansas.