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Jessica Trinh

Graduate Student Researcher

UC Davis

In the Middle: Between undergrad and doctorate, studying interactions between microbes and plants


I've always wanted to do something in my life that will help others but will also mesh well with my own curiosities about the world. This led me to pursue a graduate degree after learning about the interesting microbes that both help and hurt our society. There were major experiences I had in undergrad that reinforced my interests, as well as ways that I could see myself as both a scientist and as someone who wanted their work to benefit others. Now, I am working at UC Davis researching citrus Huanglongbing, a disease that severely impacts Florida's citrus economy and threatens the global supply of citrus. My work may be one small piece of the puzzle, but I hope that my work will help inform others on how to treat plant diseases like citrus Huanglongbing."

Meet the Speaker:

I'm a 4th year Microbiology PhD student, but I actually started my PhD program at UC Riverside. Through a series of strange events, I wound up transferring to the lab of Dr. Gitta Coaker at UC Davis. The best thing is that I got to keep my research project, which is identifying novel plant immunogenic elicitors from Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus, the putative causative agent of citrus Huanglongbing. This citrus disease costs the US alone billions of dollars in crop damages, so figuring out how plants may become immune to this disease is important to us. I've done a variety of science communication projects at SciComm @ UCR, such as recording and editing podcasts and planning outreach activities, and would love to continue that with Science Says at UC Davis. I believe that it is so important for people to see scientists and science in general as approachable, especially in this day and age.

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