Anca Barcu

Profile

  • Organization
    UC Davis

  • Role
    Scientist Mentor: I will mentor teams of students online

  • Research Interests (300 words)
    I am interested in plant development in general and plant adaptation to the current climatic changes. I am also interested in plant reactions to abiotic stresses and ideally breeding plants that have a high YIELD in terms of agricultural produce while consuming as little resources as possible.

  • Profile Question 1
    What is your favorite plant? Why?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 1 here (300 words):
    My favorite plant is Filipendula vulgaris. I love this plant because of memories it brings from childhood fairs where pottery artisans would decorate their traditional jars with this plant. As I grew older, I studied the plant more carefully and realized it has not only ornamental properties, but pharmacological and nutritional too. Infusions can be made from it's leaves and flowers, and the young leaves and tuberous roots can be cooked or eaten raw. It also has antioxidant and antimicrobial actions which make it a good candidate for pharmacological studies.
    Another interesting aspect about this plant is that it can be used as an indicator for soils containing chalk or lime and it grows in much drier conditions than the other members of its genus.

  • Profile Question 2
    What is the coolest thing you have discovered or learned about plants?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 2 here (300 words):
    Bud mutation is one of the coolest things I've learned about plants. Bud mutation is a naturally occurring mutation in a bud that leads to the development of completely different characteristics in that branch. For example, imagine a yellow fruit producing apple that has a branch producing red apples. It is also believed to be the reason behind the discovery of red fleshed navel oranges.

  • Profile Question 3
    Can you share a funny/interesting lab or field story?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 3 here (300 words):
    When I was in sixth grade I was fascinated with inorganic chemistry, how mixing two differently colored solutions would produce a third color, like in the case of FeSO4+NaOH. Having some sulfuric acid (H2SO4) in the house because my father used to add it to his car battery, I decided I would try to make hydrochloric acid using H2SO4 and table salt. The experiment didn't quite work out as I managed to spill the small quantity of sulfuric acid on my jeans and on the carpet in my room. The both ended up with holes and that also put an end to my experiments in the house with dangerous substances, but it didn't stop me from designing other kinds of experiences.

  • Help represent the outreach efforts of your societies. Please click all those organizations you are a member of:
    (not set)

  • Capacity: How many teams at a time are you comfortable working with?
    1

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