Peering Into the Gray Cloud Using Spaceflown RNA

colinkruseColin Kruse, Wyatt Lab manager and researcher, is looking for genes not yet identified as related to gravity response in plants. To do this, Colin and Dr. Sarah Wyatt enlisted the help of NASA to germinate seedlings in microgravity conditions aboard the International Space Station. The spaceflown samples have since returned to earth and Colin will soon complete the next milestone in the NASA-sponsored BRIC-20 microgravity experiment. Using RNA extracted from spaceflown seedlings and ground controls, Colin hopes to  identify the genes involved in the plant signalling biochemical pathway.

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Meet Colin Kruse

colinB.S. Chemistry, Ohio University (2012) 
OHIO University, Athens, OH

Colin joined Dr. Wyatt’s research group in the fall of 2014. Currently his work includes two projects: 1) analysis of RNA from plants flown on the International Space Station and 2) tool development for network analysis of gene expression data. The spaceflown plants were grown from seed in the microgravity environment of space and could prove crucial in the identification of gravity related genes. Colin currently serves as lab manager allowing him the opportunity to learn the logistics involved with supporting a large group of highly active undergraduate researchers.

Colin is also applying to graduate school with hopes of joining the Wyatt Lab as a master’s student.

My Plant Story – Colin Kruse

Sea Base
Colin Kruse

colinAs a boy scout, I was able to go to the high adventure camp Sea Base in the Florida Keys. While there, I was exposed to some of the most exotic and interesting plant species I have ever seen. From the mangroves that build their own islands, to the clay-red “gumbo” trees on Boy Scout Island and even the Sargasm that plagued the beaches, all of it was so new and interesting. The climax of the journey was seeing one of the few millennia old, silver thatch palms whose slow and steady growth make them one of the few trees to brave hurricane after hurricane and survive to nearly the age of the redwoods.