Nikki began her lab experience during her sophomore year in Dr. Neal Stewart’s lab in Plant Sciences, because she was interested in genetic engineering. By her junior year, her advisor Mrs. Jones, suggested that Nikki pursue the 4+1 program, where she would graduate with a master’s degree just one year after graduating with her bachelor’s degree.
Once she decided that the 4+1 was right for her Nikki began working with Dr. Scott Lenaghan, and immediately started studying molecular biology and learning proper lab techniques. Now that she is a senior, she will begin her project that will continue for a year.
Over the summer, Nikki worked as a lab tech for Dr. Lenaghan and assisted a postdoc with her project. The postdoc’s project focused on regulating certain gene expressions. While working in the lab Nikki helped prep and test constructs to see if they work through weekly leaf infiltrations and stable infiltration of inter nodes. When asked how this type of work relates to food science, she says that techniques developed can be applied to a number of food crops and could lead to break throughs in global food security.