MMPRNT Personnel to Present at DOE Genomic Sciences Meeting & Tiemann Lab Update

Multiple MMPRNT personnel will be attending and presenting a number of posters at the DOE 2017 Genomic Sciences Program Annual PI Meeting Feb 5-8, 2017 in Arlington, VA. Many thanks to GLBRC who provided funding for several in our group to attend. Have a great and productive meeting!

In other news the Tiemann Lab has been busy this winter working on multiple MMPRNT projects. See some pictures here and below check out what Darian and Yang have been up to!

In December 2016, Darian attended the American Geophysical Union (AGU) conference in San Francisco. This meeting hosted many of the top researchers in biogeochemical science as well as many other fields from global climate change to volcanism. Darian presented research addressing the relationship between nitrogen mineralization and free-living nitrogen fixation in switchgrass cropping systems across two field sites. Her findings suggest that drought may have limited nitrogen fixation throughout the growing season, making it difficult to draw any conclusions about the relationship between free-living nitrogen fixation and nitrogen mineralization. However, her findings also suggest that belowground carbon investment my plants through root exudation may immobilize nitrogen, locking it up in microbial pools away from plant accessibility.

Real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR) is a widely used technique in quantifying a single nitrogen (N) functional gene. Yang is currently working on the development of a high-throughput qPCR platform (WaferGen) that provides the potential to comprehensively and accurately measure the abundance of many N functional genes in a single run. The WaferGen system contains 5184 wells and runs PCR arrays at a single annealing temperature and cycling condition. However, current N functional gene primers often produce long amplicons, have a high degree of degeneracy, and have a low coverage of the known diversity. Therefore, we need to modify and re-design most N functional gene targeting primers for WaferGen system.

The Ribosomal Database Project is developing a primer design program that enables to design primers with low manual input and large reference sets. The aim the groups is to use this new primer design program to produce a Gene-Chip targeting sub-groups of each N functional gene. Currently, we have finished optimizing and validating the primer design programs using some N-fixing pure cultures, and are designing primers for sub-groups of N-fixers.

Job announcement: Lab/Field Research Technician Position in Biogeochemistry and Plant-Microbe Interactions

We are looking to hire 1-2 lab/field technicians to work on the MMPRNT project!

The primary duties will consist of a) lab work (including, but not limited to DNA extractions, processing soil samples, nutrient analyses, data entry and general lab maintenance) and b) field work (plant and soil sampling) at both local sites and those located in Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. This position requires a small amount of travel (~1 day trip per month and 2-3 overnight trips over the entire field season).

Ideal candidates will have relevant laboratory and field work experience. We are particularly interested in candidates that can demonstrate a high level of attention to detail and ability to independently follow directions and protocols in both field and lab settings. Candidates should also be willing to work long field days under both hot and cold conditions and have excellent organizational skills. Successful candidates must have a B.S. or commensurate experience in plant or soil science, ecology or other closely related field.

This is a 40 hr/week non-benefited Technical Aide position under a 9-month hire with the potential for renewal for an additional 9 months depending on performance. Successful applicants will be offered health care through the Affordable Care Act. Compensation will be $12-$15 per hour, depending on qualifications of the applicant. A start date in March or April 2017 is preferred, but start dates up to May 15 will be considered. The technician will join the Evans Lab ( at the W.K. Kellogg Biological Station, which is located in Hickory Corners, MI, 15 miles NE of Kalamazoo, MI. Questions about the position and applications should be submitted to Steve Gougherty ( Applications will begin to be reviewed Feb 15, 2017 and accepted until the position is filled.

Applications, sent to as a single pdf file, should include:
1) Cover letter (1 page maximum) describing qualifications and research goals
2) CV or resume
3) Names, contact information, and brief synopsis of relationship for three references.

MSU is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer.

Welcome to Cody!

We are happy to welcome Cody Bekkering to the Friesen Lab and MMPRNT project! Cody will be the plant point person for the upcoming field season and also work on validating software for root image analysis.