Plant Center Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grants (PC-DDIG).

Objective: PC-DDIGs are intended to empower students to explore their research interests and develop professional independence. PC-COLLABORATE-DDIGs are available for cross-cutting research involving doctoral students from different labs.

Full Proposal Deadline: Coversheet, 2-page narrative, budget and two-page CV due Monday, November 7th at 5:00 PM

Research Start date: Monday, January 2, 2023

Research End date: Wednesday, June 30, 2023

Budget: Maxima of $5000 for PC-DDIGs and $7000 for PC-COLLABORATE-DDIGs.

Eligibility: Doctoral students at any point in their program. Previous PC-DDIG Awardees are not eligible.

Submission Requirements:

  • One-page coversheet including name, title, budget total and summary (no more than 150 words)
  • Two-page narrative: Description of research to be executed with PC-DDIG funded and how it advances a broader dissertation research program. Separate paragraphs should briefly describe the scientific merit and broader impacts of the dissertation research and PC-DDIG funded component of the dissertation research.
  • One-page budget and budget justification. The budget justification should clearly describe how the funds will be spent by the June 30th end date. Funds will not be able to carried beyond June 30, 2021
  • Two-page NSF-style CV –https://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/biosketch.jsp.
  • In addition to the two-page narrative, PC-COLLABORATE-DDIG proposals should include a statement (200 word max) of the synergistic aspects of the research plan.

Assessment Criteria: Proposals will be assessed for novelty, potential impact on dissertation research and state-of-art in field of study, potential broader impacts including broadening STEM participation, tractability, and clarity. The budget justification should clearly describe how the funds will be used before the end of the fiscal year (June 30, 2023). We anticipate that four proposals will be funded.

2021 Plant Center Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant Awardees

Philip Bentz (Plant Bio, Leebens-Mack Lab) – Dynamic evolution of sex chromosomes in the genus Asparagus

Thomas Curry (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Urbanowicz Lab) – Developing a One-Pot Multienzyme System to Study Xylan Biosynthesis In Vitro

Derek Denney (Plant Bio, Anderson Lab) – Evaluating selection induced by climate change on water-use efficiency in Boechera stricta

Matt Farnitano (Genetics, Sweigart Lab) – Comparative genetic mapping of early-stage reproductive barriers

Michelle Henson (Plant Bio, Chung Lab) –  Impacts of fire frequency on plant-soil interactions in a longleaf pine-wiregrass savanna

Joana Mijatović (Plant Pathology, Kvitko Lab) – GumD to the rescue: Genetic disruption of EPS-to facilitate Xanthomonas hybrid genome sequencing and assembly for functional genetics of virulence

Willis Turner Spratling (Plant Pathology, Bahri Lab) – Development of species-specific primers for Clarireedia pathogens, etiological agents of dollar spot in turfgrass


2020 Plant Center Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant Awardees

Soyeon Choi (Genetics, Devos Lab) – Identifying the effect of a single amino acid substitution in B box domain 1 on the structure and function of the PvHd1 protein in switchgrass.

Lanxi Hu (Plant Pathology, Yang Lab) – Smaller and faster: develop a reversible fluorescent tool for live cell imaging of protein interactions.

Mohammad Inam Jameel (Genetics, Anderson Lab) – What are the relative contributions of genetic variation, within-generation plasticity, and transgenerational plasticity to anti-herbivore defenses in Boechera stricta?

Mia Rochford (Plant Biology, Anderson and Cruse-Sanders Labs) – How does habitat fragmentation influence the potential for natural plant populations to adapt to climate change?

Trevor Tuma (Plant Biology, Tsai Lab) – Understanding the Seasonal Interplay Between Carbohydrate Mobilization, Biomass Production, & Phenology in Woody Perennial Species

Makenzie Whitener (Genetics, Sweigart Lab) – Genome evolution and the genetics of adaptation in the allopolyploid Mimulus sookensis


Honorable Mentions 

Derek Denney (Plant Biology, Anderson Lab) – Evaluating selection induced by climate change on water-use efficiency in Boechera stricta

Richard Field (Genetics, Leebens-Mack Lab) – An exploration of the prevalence and conservation of polycistronic gene expression in four vascular plants with phylogenetically strategic relationships.

Kelly McCrum (Plant Biology, Anderson and Chung Labs) – The effects of spatial mismatch in plant-soil microbe interactions on fitness responses of five plants

Renan Silva e Souza (Plant Breeding, Genetics and Genomics, Li Lab) – Dissecting the Rpp6 resistance alleles for genetic improvement of resistance to soybean rust