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Ashley Kuntz earns undergraduate space biology award

11/16/2005

Ashley Kuntz, a junior botany major from Harrison, Ohio, was awarded second place in the undergraduate student competition for her presentation, "Gene profiling of Arabidopsis shoots and roots in response to red light" at the annual meeting of the American Society for Gravitational and Space Biology, in Reno, NV. The award includes a certificate and cash prize.

Ashley also was elected vice-president of the ASGSB Student Association at the annual meeting.

Kuntz works with John Kiss, professor of botany, whose research on gravitropism (response of plants to gravity) has included experiments with Arabidopsis on U.S. space shuttle missions in 1997.

Next summer Kiss will have an experiment conducted on the International Space Station, carried by the second planned return of U.S. space shuttles in May 2006. The goal of the current research is to better understand how plants integrate sensory input from multiple light and gravity perception systems.

The long-range goals are related to developing better crop plants on Earth and to determining plants’ potential use as a food source during prolonged human time in space.

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