Dr. Tilottama Roy, an assistant professor of biology at Missouri Western State University, has received an $863,000 National Science Foundation grant to fund undergraduate student research on the evolution and diversification of a group of mint plants which includes many species that have been federally listed as endangered.
The $863,000 grant over three years will fund a project by Dr. Roy and Dr. Charlotte Lindqvist, associate professor of biology at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York, titled “A phylogenomic study of a lineage of hyper-diverse flowering plants, subfamily Lamioideae (Lamiaceae).” As part of NSF’s Research in Undergraduate Institutions (RUI) program, the funds will allow 12 students from western Missouri to participate actively in the research project.
“Our students will travel across the United States to perform fieldwork and visit some of the largest preserved plant collections in the world,” Dr. Roy said. “They will also gain hands-on experience with advanced laboratory techniques at SUNY Buffalo’s state-of-the-art Central Genomics Facility in New York City.
“The information gathered through this research project will help us understand the comparative biology of mints, guide the discovery of new products, and justify conservation actions for endangered species. It will also help us understand the mechanisms leading to the diversification of plants and animals in temperate North America, a fundamental challenge in biology,” said Dr Roy.