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Ohio Wesleyan Student Earns Plant Biology Research Award
Evan Bai to Present Results of Research at International Conference

April 28, 2009

Evan Bai ’11, recipient of a 2009 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship award from the American Society of Plant Biologists
Photo courtesy of Evan Bai
DELAWARE, OH – For the second consecutive year, an Ohio Wesleyan University student has been selected to receive a prestigious Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) award from the American Society of Plant Biologists. Only 15 students from colleges in the United States and around the world earned 2009 SURF awards.

Evan Bai, a sophomore from China, will spend 10 weeks studying how the presence of phosphates affects the root architecture and gravity responsiveness of Arabidopsis, a small plant in the cabbage family. His work will focus on how the plant develops differently shaped roots when grown under low-phosphate conditions and how it uses gravity as a cue to alter its root system in response to available nutrients.

Bai will conduct his research at Ohio Wesleyan under the mentorship of Chris Wolverton, Ph.D., an associate professor of botany-microbiology. Bai will present his results at Plant Biology, a conference to be held July 31-Aug. 4, 2010, in Montreal.

Bai said he is grateful for the hands-on research opportunities he has had at Ohio Wesleyan. “I came to school at OWU because its smaller size allows close student-faculty relationships,” he said. “I’ve been awarded opportunities to work with professors here that I couldn’t get at a larger institution.”

Bai is a double major in genetics and basic biochemistry. After earning his OWU degree, he plans to attend graduate school to become a cell and molecular biologist.

Bai also earned the Best Undergraduate Oral Presentation award in March from the American Society of Plant Biologists at its regional, annual meeting in Illinois. At the same meeting, junior Beth Mayers of Sarasota, Fla., earned the Best Undergraduate Poster Presentation award. In 2008, Mayers, a botany and art history double major, earned a SURF award for her research, which seeks to separate how plants sense light and gravity.

Ohio Wesleyan University is an undergraduate liberal arts college that transforms the lives of its students through a combination of rigorous academics, mentoring relationships, and real-world experiences. Featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” the private university’s 1,850 students come from 47 states and 50 countries. Visit www.owu.edu for more information.