Erin Gemmell, a PhD candidate working with Timothy Wencewicz, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry, was awarded an NSF-sponsored industry internship for summer 2020. The internship is supported by the National Science Foundation through their Division of Chemistry. Starting July 1, Gemmell will be studying pink pigmented facultative methylotrophs (M-trophs) with her mentor, Anne Phillips (PhD ‘19), at NewLeaf Symbiotics, an agricultural biotech company in St. Louis, Missouri. M-trophs are beneficial microbes that strengthen plant root systems, enhance nutrient uptake, and increase crop yields.
Gemmell's current PhD research involves the study of beneficial metabolites produced by plant symbiotic rhizobacteria. This internship will allow her to gain experience in the rapidly growing bioagriculture sector of the U.S. economy to supplement her current training in biochemistry and organic chemistry at Washington University in St. Louis.