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Engineering Plants as Sensors

limerick6.. Creative Commons license.
Time: 1:30pm - 3:30pm
Date: Thursday, August 8, 2013
Location: Kay Board (Room 1107), Kim Engineering Building
RSVP requested by Tues, Aug 6 but not required --

A strawberry on a vine grows because the seeds on its surface release auxin, a small hormone molecule that tells the fruit cells to elongate. The more seeds on the surface, the more auxin released, and the larger the fruit will grow. But how does auxin -- an aromatic ring and carboxylic acid compound -- cross the interface from the seed to the fruit? And how is it made inside the seed in the first place?

In addition to auxin, imagine that plants could be engineered to respond to signals from the environment ´┐Żand report their findings: Plants that change color if the air chemistry changes, leaves that grow in new shapes if toxins are in the soil or water. Engineering plants as sensors could depend on measuring, modeling, and manipulating ion transport, chemical species, quantum effects, or mechanical processes within the complex environment of plant cells.

Join researchers from the Clark School of Engineering; College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences; and the College of Agriculture for a NanoCenter Spark conversation. We seek to introduce researchers from across disciplines to identify the scientific challenges and opportunities that underpin engineering plants as sensors. No experience necessary. Come join the conversation.

Questions? Contact Ashley Predith,, 301-405-7801.

*NanoCenter Sparks are interdisciplinary brainstorming sessions for UMD faculty and researchers. We aim to identify scientific challenges and opportunities that push the forefront of nanoscience and nanotechnology. These creative and stimulating conversations seek to spark new research areas and catalyze collaborations that could form the basis of new multi-investigator funded programs.

Colleges A. James Clark School of Engineering
The College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences

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