Summer research pays off for Sydney Robertson

Some students spend their summer traveling exotic locations or working boring summer jobs. Sydney Robertson, a senior Biology student, decided to spend her summer in the lab solving the genome of Rhodopseudomonas rutila (and seven other bacterial genomes). Besides gaining valuable technical and research skills, this also resulted in a recent publication in the journal Microbiology Resource Announcements, entitled: Draft Whole-Genome Sequence of the purple nonsulfur photosynthetic bacterium Rhodospeudomonas rutila R1.

These bacterial genomes were never sequenced before and unraveling these has environmental and evolutionary implications. Specifically, these efforts contribute to the suggestion that there is a need for a re-classification of the Rhodopseudomas bacterial species.

Over the summer Sydney learned all the steps involved in genomic DNA extraction, building sequencing libraries, operating the Illumina MiniSeq sequencer, genome assembly and data analysis. As the lead author of this recent publication, she also gained insight in the process of getting experimental results published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. This certainly was a busy summer for Sydney, but as a former BU Softball student athlete, she is used to juggling a busy schedule with her studies and research.

Whether you continue your research in a medical, healthcare, or environmental science field, the process of next generation sequencing is becoming more and more prevalent, and having a comprehensive understanding of this process and knowing how to interpret and analyze genome data is valuable in both research and applied science careers.

Screenshot SydneySydney is continuing her research at the BU Science labs until her graduation next spring, and as she mentions in the video “there are more than enough projects for people to get started on”. If you are interested in joining any of the ongoing research projects or have ideas for new projects, don’t hesitate to reach out to any of us at BUNSCE!

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