|Dr. Sanzhen Liu|
Specifically, Liu and his team will investigate the genome engineering of maize. They selected maize because it is one of the highest-yielding cereal crops in the world that faces challenges of dramatic yield increases, "particularly under highly variable climates and disease pressures." The researchers plan to sequence the genome of an amenable maize tissue culture to identify the genetic elements that regulate culture ability. The group will develop and apply novel approaches in order to decode the complex maize genome. Specifically, the team will utilize a plant-bacterium delivery system that enables "plants to gain benefits from the bacterium." Then, a "designable bacterial system specifically interacting with genes of interest in the maize genome will be utilized to study gene function and manipulate cell development."
This investigation will also provide training in genetics and computation as well as large data education for students and post docs involved in the project. In addition, it "will collaborate with the Kansas Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation to encourage involvement of historically underrepresented students in STEM fields."