Biology and Mathematics Professors Receive NSF Grant to Purchase Instruments for Plant Ecophysiology Research

Dr. Ann Impullitti, Assistant Professor of Biology, received a $122,684 Major Research Instrumentation Grant from NSF’s Division of Biological Infrastructure, and a $52,400 from the LiCor Environmental Education Fund (LEEF).

The funds will be used to purchase a suite of instruments for plant ecophysiology research.  Dr. Impullitti and her Co-Principal Investigators, Dr. John Zobitz, Associate Professor of Mathematics, and Dr. Dean Malvick, University of Minnesota, will use the instrumentation to investigate the physiology of economically important plants infected by fungi and study mathematical modeling of ecophysiological processes. Research activities will explore: 1) the physiology and productivity of economically important plants colonized by pathogens that do not cause symptoms of disease; 2) the functional role of endophytes in plants; 3) the impact of sublethal infections by soil-borne pathogens of roots on plant productivity; and 4) the measurement of leaf-level physiological processes to parameterize ecosystem models of carbon cycling.

The instruments will be used for faculty research and undergraduate research in plant biology, environmental science, and mathematics.  Students interested in research will have opportunities to be involved in quantitative data analysis in biology and mathematics, and research in a field and/or lab. The instrument will also improve collaborative and interdisciplinary research projects with faculty at the University of Minnesota.  Results from these collaborations will improve our understanding of plant-fungal interactions, and will be applied to improving soybean yield and productivity, an important model plant due to its economic importance and growth throughout the U.S.

Editor’s Note: 
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DBI-1337582. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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