Melanie Lloyd, biology major, received a 2006 American Society of Plant Biologists Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF), which comes with a $3000 stipend to support her studies.
Lloyd has been studying the interaction between Rhizobium, a bacteria, and Medicago truncatula, a legume.
Understanding the interaction is important because legumes "are a huge part of the agricultural industry," explains Lloyd. The nitrogen-fixing process, which enables the legume to make its own fertilizer, also has important agricultural — and environmental — implications.
While Lloyd's endeavors may advance research in agricultural and environmental studies, her findings are sure to benefit her own future. "The impact this will have on (Lloyd's education) is going to be enormous," says Jeanne Harris, professor of botany and Lloyd's advisor. "In this case, no one knows the answer; she has to figure it out for herself."