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Clara Williams


  • Time Zone

  • Organization
    University of California - Berkeley

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

  • Research Interests (300 words)
    My research interests involve creating a more sustainable future through
    a better understanding of plant-pathogen interactions. For my PhD research, I studied a receptor involved in regulating plant defense and growth. I enjoyed learning how plants coordinate their resources to help them achieve optimal fitness.

  • 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 the Ophrys apifera (bee orchid). It is so fascinating that orchids evolved the ability to mimic insects in their appearance. It is interesting to me that the most advantageous traits involved co-evolution with insects that gave rise to something I find aesthetically beautiful.

  • Profile Question 2
    What is tough about being a scientist?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 2 here (300 words):
    I think one of the hardest parts about being a scientist is having to deal with "failure" on a daily basis. Conducting experiments is humbling because you put so much of your time, effort, and energy into an experiment and you may still have negative results. However, I like how learned to cope with the negative results and work through it. I learned to continually believe in myself and to be okay changing directions when it looked like my hypothesis was wrong.

  • Profile Question 3
    What is the coolest thing you have discovered or learned about plants?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 3 here (300 words):
    The coolest thing that I learned about plants is that they are the foundational organisms that allow all other life to exist. I find it so beautiful that they are able to take light from the sun, water and CO2 and convert that into glucose. They generate essential amino acids we need to survive. They also convert CO2 into oxygen. Plants are altogether amazing at helping maintain an earth that allows for people to thrive.

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

Recent Posts

mhsmirandafall2022 project 16 Clara Williams

Hello, thank you for the update. Did you take pictures of your plants? When you say you killed your plants were they very large prior to adding the fertilizer (aka chicken poop and fish water). It is good you are giving your plants both water and…

mhsmirandafall2022 project 3 Clara Williams

Hello Scientists!

Before I put soil in the pots for my experiment, I will take a large bucket and premix the soil and water to make sure the soil is completely wet. Your farm soil may have some hydrophobic (i.e. water repelling) particles in…

mhsmirandafall2022 project 3 Clara Williams

Hello, My name is Clara and I am currently a postdoctoral researcher at UC Berkeley where I study epigenetics in plants (i.e. alterations made to the expression of the gene without changing the actual DNA sequence). I have previously…


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NSF_Logo.jpg This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant #2010556 and #1502892. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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