Gatsby Undergraduate Studentship for Jennie Yang

Published on 16 May 2023

Third year undergraduate Biological Sciences student Jennie Yang has been awarded a prestigious Gatsby Undergraduate Studentship.

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The studentship will allow her to undertake a plant science summer research project at the University of Bristol under the supervision of Dr Ashley Pridgeon.

Jennie said, "I am excited and proud to be accepting a Sainsbury Undergraduate Studentship to complete a summer internship with Dr Ashley Pridgeon at the University of Bristol. This award is extremely prestigious, and I am grateful for the opportunity to take my first step into the field of plant science.

I am excited to enhance my laboratory skills, contribute to the work conducted at Bristol and present my findings at the upcoming Gatsby Plant Science Network Meeting. A lot of hard work has been put into gaining this studentship and I therefore want to express my gratitude to Dr Piers Hemsley, the Gatsby mentor, and Dr Marios Stavridis, my advisor of studies, who have both supported me greatly throughout the application process."

Jennie will investigate the natural variation underlying stomatal responses to environmental signals. Using a number of natural Arabidopsis thaliana variants, she will carry out a range of techniques to track stomatal development and movement in these variants and begin to uncover differences in the underlying mechanisms regulating these processes.

Dr Ashley Pridgeon said, “I’m really thrilled to work with Jennie this summer. Being awarded the Gatsby summer studentship is a massive achievement. This will allow Jennie to join our team, develop her plant molecular physiology techniques, and contribute to the exciting stomatal research being conducted here at Bristol.”

The competitive application process requires the student to write a proposal for a research project and be successful at interview. Only ~5 awards are made each year with nearly 30 research intensive UK academic institutions eligible to put students forward.

Dr Piers Hemsley, Principal Investigator in the University of Dundee Division of Plant Sciences and Gatsby Mentor, said, “I’m very proud of our plant science students; this is the third consecutive year that a Dundee student has been awarded one of these competitive and highly prized studentships. As well as Jennie’s success this year, in 2022 Hazel Surtees worked on plant microbiome colonization with Dr Jake Malone (John Innes Centre), while in 2021 Issi Steeley worked with Dr Paula Kover (University of Bath) to develop population genetic tools to study evolutionary adaptation in the halophyte Cakile maritima.”

Find out more information on the scheme