Corinne Arnold has recently returned from a 9 week trip to the United States after winning a fellowship to support the trip. Corinne applied for British Society for Plant Pathology Junior Fellowship and was awarded £2700 to cover her travel and subsistence as well as lab costs.
These fellowships aim to encourage collaboration and interdisciplinary research, to enable students to acquire new techniques, and to make new contacts (https://www.bspp.org.uk/funds/fellowships.php).
Corinne was working at the North Carolina State University with Professor Christina Cowger and her PhD student Emily Meyers, collaborating on research into triazole fungicide resistance in the wheat powdery mildew pathogen Blumeria graminis f.sp. tritici. The aim was to study levels of gene expression of two separate alleles of cyp51 identified in this organism as well as the total gene expression. A second aim was to estimate the total copy number of cyp51 as well as estimating the number of copies of each allele. This was because isolates containing both wild-type and mutated alleles of this gene exhibited increased resistance to several triazole fungicides compared to isolates only containing either the wild-type or mutated alleles. The overall aim was to increase the understanding of this complex mechanism of resistance.
Corinne found the whole experience to be extremely beneficial as it was a good opportunity to focus solely on one section of her Ph.D. project and was able to collate a lot of data. Now she is back in the UK Corinne will be analysing the data that she collected and writing up the results. Not only was the experience useful for the scientific research and experiencing working in a different laboratory setup, it was also an excellent opportunity to experience living in the United States. Christina’s lab group were very welcoming and treated Corinne to several “typically American” experiences.