For plant biology major and Goldwater Scholar Sarah Saddoris, research has played a primary role in defining her goal to improve the production of the global food supply:
As my primary focus, research has played a defining role in my studies. I have spent my fair share of Friday nights in the lab finishing experiments at 2 in the morning and many game days in Davison Life Sciences (benchwork waits for no man!). I have also had the opportunity to present my research at various venues: In 2017, I received a travel award to present a poster at UGA’s Plant Center Retreat and the following summer I received another travel award to present my research in Montreal, Canada, at the American Society of Plant Biologists international conference. Of course, I have also given oral presentations at other small symposia on campus, such as the CURO Spring Symposium.
I am interested in the mechanisms and functions of the various pathways in plants that are responsible for controlling gene expression during development and in response to biotic and abiotic stresses, such as pathogens and drought. The threat of climate change is no longer imminent, but is already upon us, as is the issue of overpopulation. These two problems have created a lofty demand of plant biologists: provide crops that are capable of meeting the demands of the human population while withstanding the stresses of drought, salty waters and pests. My goal is to contribute to this global effort by developing integrated approaches to crop improvement. I hope to establish my own research laboratory that elegantly combines fields such as genomics, epigenetics, bioinformatics and population genetics to ultimately provide farmers with resistant, high-yield crops.
Equipping leaders of tomorrow to do their best work by pairing their ambitions with the skills to achieve them, all the while enjoying an unforgettable undergraduate experience. We are never more proud than to be the home institution of thoughtful scientists like Saddoris who are ready to make a difference.