Undergraduate Research Program

Mollye Zahler

Zahler, Mollye

Minor: Environmental Science and Terrestrial Resource Management
Mentor: Jennifer Nemhauser, Biology

Contact: mzahler@uw.edu

Current research project: Quantifying Leaf Phenotype in AFB2 Mutants



Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
Auxin is a small plant hormone that controls nearly every aspect of plant growth and development. A large family of proteins involved in auxin perception called Auxin-Signaling F-Boxes or AFBs is made up of 6 proteins (TIR1 and AFB1-5). These proteins are largely redundant but are thought to have specialized roles in determining plant phenotype. We aim to discover the specific roles of individual AFBs in order to identify target genes that can be used to engineer plant architecture. I am focusing on how leaf phenotype is determined by AFB2 function in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana.


When, how, and why did you get involved in undergraduate research?
I got involved in research because I knew that our school offers a unique opportunity for undergraduates to get involved and there are so many interesting and groundbreaking things happening. I attended an info session held by the URP and learned that many undergraduates simply email several PIs (primary investigators) whose research sounds interesting to them and ask to get involved. At the beginning of sophomore year I emailed several labs and was welcomed into the Nemhauser lab.


What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research?
Don’t get too attached to one lab. Chances are you may not be able to join the first lab that interests you, but there are so many amazing opportunities for undergrad research on campus that you will be able to find a good fit.