Rebecca Murphy


  • Time Zone

  • Organization
    Centenary College of Louisiana

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

  • Research Interests (300 words)
    My research interests are focused on the improvement of agriculturally important crop species, with emphasis on finding genes that influence flowering time regulation in sorghum and maize. We are interested in flowering time because varieties that mature earlier are often shorter and more suited for grain production, while varieties that mature later are generally more suited for syrup production, forage, or biomass for ethanol production. Because flowering is such a complex phenomenon, this has allowed me to study an interesting and diverse set of biological pathways ranging from the internal cues of the circadian clock to external light stimuli. These studies have been accomplished using a variety of methods, including quantitative trait locus analysis and map-based cloning, next generation sequencing, and gene expression studies.

  • Profile Question 1
    What is the coolest thing you have discovered or learned about plants?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 1 here (300 words):
    The most interesting thing that I have come to appreciate about plants is simply how diverse they are. Plants live in many different environments and they produce a staggering amount of different chemicals. Many of these have been useful to us in making medicines and other products. They are biochemical marvels that show us many things including how to more efficiently harvest energy from the sun. Though many don't even think about it, we truly rely on them for everything we do in our daily lives.

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

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 2 here (300 words):
    There are two things I love about being a scientist. One, I love that it's all about trying to solve problems. It's really gratifying to finally come up with an answer to some problem, and it's very cool to know that when you do, you are the first person in the world to know that answer! I also love how science is kind of secretly everywhere! I love how it is integrated into daily life and even into the other things that we enjoy, like music and art.

  • Profile Question 3
    What is a typical day like for you?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 3 here (300 words):
    I work at a college that is more focused on teaching, so many days I give lectures, prepare materials for laboratory experiments, teach labs, or attend meetings. I send a lot of emails! When I focus more on my research, I spend a lot of time in a lab at the bench, or in a greenhouse or field where our plants are grown. I also spend a lot of time writing papers, grants, or other documents for our school.

  • 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?

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