Claire Whitaker

Jin lab: I decided to pursue a career in science while taking a course on the biology of plants in my first year of college. Since that decision, I have consciously sought to expand my knowledge and interest in plants and related systems. As a member of the Plants3D program, I have had the experience of developing a cross-discipline collaboration through the annual Design Tournament. My research focuses on plant interactions with fungal pathogens, and cooperation in synthetic biology will help me to bring my fundamental analysis into a context where it can be directly applied to food systems and economically significant plant growth. I also have a passion for mentorship and science communication: I mentored a student through the Polygence platform in 2022 and won the 2022 UCR GradSlam and the 2021 UCR SciComm Multimedia Competition. Both awards were challenging exercises in condensing my research into a short format (3 minutes) for general audiences.