Mary Gates Research Scholarships

2018 Mary Gates Research Scholarships

2018 UW Bothell Recipients of Mary Gates Research Scholarships

Mary Gates Research Scholarships are competitive scholarships intended to enhance the educational experiences of undergraduate students at the University of Washington while they are engaged in research guided by faculty. We hope that with research scholarships, students may focus more attention and time, deepening their inquiry into a discipline or project with a reduced financial burden. Learn more about the Mary Gates Research scholarship.


Portrait of Rachel CalderRachel Calder, Senior, Biology


Title: Identifying Abiotic Stress Responsive Genes Reliant on MOP1-Mediated Epigenetic Regulation in Maize
Description: Abiotic stress (drought, cold, salinity) can have negative impacts on crop yield. In plants, the hormone abscisic acid (ABA) accumulates under stress, to signal transcriptional and physiological responses. Changes in epigenetic modifications are also required to facilitate transcriptional changes. In maize, the MOP1 protein functions in a specific epigenetic regulatory pathway. In her research project, Rachel will computationally identify maize abiotic stress responsive genes that require MOP1-mediated epigenetic regulation and ABA-induced mechanisms for their expression. She will simultaneously compare multiple genotype/treatment RNA-sequencing datasets measuring abiotic stress treatments in plants. Her research utilizes the skills she has acquired in molecular biology, genetics, computational biology and bioinformatics.
Mentors: Dr. Thelma Madzima & Dr. Jesse Zaneveld



Portrait of Kaheerman SabiraKaheerman Saibire, Senior, Biology

Title: The Role of the RMR1 Protein in Phenotypic and Transcriptional Responses to Abscisic Acid (ABA)
Description: This research uses molecular biology and genetics techniques to identify the role of epigenetic regulation in maize seedlings under abiotic stress conditions. Specifically, she is using a mutant of the RMR1 gene to test the hypothesis that epigenetic regulation is required for physiological responses under treatment with the plant stress hormone, abscisic acid (ABA).
Mentor: Dr. Thelma Madzima



Portrait of Jackelyn GarciaJackelyn Tolentino Garcia, Senior, Biology

Title: Transgenerational Epigenetic Modification and Phenotypic Response to Highly Variable Environments
Description: Climate change predicts that there will be longer periods of drought followed by heavy rainfall at unpredictable intervals. Phenotypic plasticity and epigenetic modification are two factors we believe may strongly influence the adaptive ability of plants. We have implemented an experimental design mimicking the predicted variable conditions of climate change. For two generations, we exposed plants to either drought or non-drought conditions. Then in the third generation, we took seeds from parents that experienced those conditions and exposed them to either drought, non-drought, or variable watering in a cross-replicated design.
Mentors: Dr. Cynthia Chang & Dr. Thelma Madzima


Portrait of Alex Wachter

Alex Wachter, Junior, Environmental Science

Title: Pioneer Conifer Abies procera’s Influence on Early-Succession Plant Communities at Mt. St. Helens
Description: Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980, and we are testing what environmental factors have the biggest impact on primary successional plant communities. To do this we are simulating the ecological functions of Abies procera (Noble fir), a native conifer, by manipulating soil carbon, nitrogen, and shade in plots in the field. This work is important to further our understanding on what it takes for a mossy, sub-alpine grassland to change into an old-growth forest. 
Mentor: Dr. Cynthia Chang