MMPRNT was very proud this week as one of our graduate students, Darian Smercina, defended her PhD on April 1st! Presenting her seminar titled Environmental and Biological Controls on Free-living Nitrogen Fixation Darian shared her last 5 years of work exploring free living nitrogen fixers in marginal land soils. If you missed the talk, her most recent paper- Switchgrass Rhizosphere Metabolite Chemistry Driven by Nitrogen Availability –is available for early view from Phytobiomes. This summer Darian will begin her postdoc at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory where she has earned the prestigious Linus Pauling Fellowship. Congrats Darian! Thanks for all your hard work on MMPRNT!
MMPRNT also held its semi annual All Hands meeting on March 31st. Last meeting was held virtually due to a snowstorm and this year safety precautions around covid-19 send us to a digital platform again. We vow to meet in person eventually! Distance aside, we had a great time sharing project updates and plans for the future. Angela Kent and Wendy Yang’s lab groups, both from the University of Illinois and members of CABBI (Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation), also joined us and we brainstormed avenues for future collaboration between CABBI and MMPRNT.