Since spring semester of my sophomore year, I have had the privilege of working in Dr. Haswell’s lab. Her lab studies the ways in which plants respond to mechanical stimuli.
Hello! My name is Ethan Weiner and I am currently a senior about to graduate with a Biology major with a Biochemistry concentration. Since spring semester of my sophomore year, I have had the privilege of working in Dr. Haswell’s lab. Her lab studies the ways in which plants respond to mechanical stimuli. I have utilized algae and moss as model organisms in order to better understand a specific family of protein channels (Piezos) that are likely involved in not just plants’, but many eukaryotes’ responses to certain mechanical stresses.
Up until this project began, much was known about Piezos’ function in animals, but their role in plants was still unknown. I have had the opportunity to utilize incredible machinery during my time there, including a laser scanning confocal microscope (as shown in the picture) which allowed me to image individual cells to determine where moss Piezo homologs localize subcellularly. I have also used a machine which allowed me to read the amount of cytosolic calcium signaling in thousands of cells at once, in response to various stresses. Through using this machinery and working with the amazing group of people at the Haswell lab, we have made significant strides in our understanding of how these Piezo homologs function.
I will be going to graduate school at the UW Madison Botany department in the fall, in large part due to my experience with the plant biology community here at WashU.