Eden Johnson


  • Time Zone

  • Organization
    University of Missouri- Columbia

  • Employment Status
    University / College Faculty

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

  • Research Interests (300 words)
    My research interests revolve around identifying features that differ between related plants, and using evolutionary, developmental, and genetic techniques to learn more about these differences. For instance, most grass species grow reproductive structures called spikelets singly, while a comparatively small number of grasses grow spikelets in pairs. I am interested in the genetic basis underlying this difference, as well as the implications of growing paired spikelets (e.g., increased grain yield). I am excited to mentor students through plant-based projects and problems, and hopefully inspire a love and appreciation of plants.

  • Profile Question 1
    What is best about being a scientist?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 1 here (300 words):
    We all get ideas that pop into our minds about how things work or why they work, and I bet you've walked around outside and wondered about the things you see. The best thing about being a scientist is getting ideas, then being able to test those ideas through observations and experiments. For example, why are some flowers brightly colored, while others are colorless? You can find out through observation that a brightly colored plant may attract different pollinators, and you can discover through experiments that the colors may be due to the presence of different amounts or types of pigments. Being a scientist means answering lots of questions, which can also open new doors for other questions.

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

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 2 here (300 words):
    The toughest part of being a scientist is that sometimes things just don't work, and you won't know why. It could be because the experiment you're doing doesn't address your question (for example, if you're trying to find out why a plant has red flowers, but you are studying it before the flower blooms). It could also be because you've made a mistake somewhere in your experiment. Mistakes happen, and part of being a scientist is coming up with multiple experiments that can answer a question, or one experiment that could answer many questions.

  • 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):
    One of the coolest things about plants to me is how they grow. When you and I were born is much like when your dog was born - we are born with all of our parts present (arms, legs, nose, ears) and then they get bigger as we get older. Plants are very different! When plants are "born" (when they rise from the soil), they have very few plant parts, and they are able to initiate new organs (like leaves, branches, and flowers) as they get bigger. That would be like if we were able to grow many sets of arms as we get taller, but we can't. Plants are so cool!

  • Availability
    I am currently available for mentoring, please send me team match invitations

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

Skills & Endorsements

  • No skills have been endorsed yet.