Jodi Weiss ’19 and Assistant Professor of Biology Natalie Nannas attended the 60th Annual Maize Genetics Conference. The international meeting took place in St. Malo, France, in March.

Weiss presented “Frequency of abnormal chromosome 10 in tropical landraces of Zea mays” in a session on cytogenetics. The poster described her research on abnormal chromosome variants present in maize that segregate in ways that break the laws of classical genetics. In her study, she screened tropical varieties of maize to determine which populations carried these abnormal chromosomes, which can be detrimental to crop breeding programs.

The research was conducted at the University of Georgia last summer after Weiss was selected for a competitive research fellowship. She was supervised by Nannas and R. Kelly Dawe, Distinguished Research Professor at the University of Georgia.

About Jodi Weiss '19

Major: Biology

Hometown: Waterford, Conn.

High School: Waterford High School

more about student research

The excellence of Weiss’ research allowed her to apply for the conference. She earned the opportunity to present after the Maize Genetics Steering Committee assessed her work and determined that it warranted a poster presentation spot at the meeting.

Funding for her attendance was through a travel grant from the University of Georgia, supported by the National Science Foundation. Grants from the Kirkland Endowment Fund and the Dean of Faculty’s Office provided additional support.

Weiss will continue her genetics training this summer when she studies gene-editing approaches to treating breast cancer in the lab of Dr. Edison Liu at The Jackson Laboratory. Based in Bar Harbor, Maine, The Jackson Laboratory has several locations — Weiss will work at The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine in Farmington, Conn.

In the fall, she plans to continue her research on maize chromosomes through her senior thesis project.

Nannas also presented her research on the mechanisms of meiotic spindle assembly using live fluorescence microscopy in the cytogenetics session. Her poster was titled “Dynamics of meiotic spindle assembly in Zea mays.”

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