Biotechnology Graduate Program

Faculty of Mathematics and Science

Biotechnology Graduate Program

Scott Behie – Current Student

Supervisor: Dr. Michael J. Bidochka

Research Topic/Project Title: The title of my project is “Trading nitrogen for carbon: Nitrogen/carbon translocation in a plant fungal (Metarhizium) symbiosis”. My research involves the symbiotic nitrogen transfer between plants and a unique group of insect pathogenic, and plant associating soil fungi. These fungi are potent insect pathogens, and have also been found to be plant endophytes, that is, they internally colonize plant roots with no harm to the plant. In this lab a couple of years ago, the discovery was made that a very common insect pathogenic fungi, Metarhizium, was also a plant endophyte. For my project we wanted to investigate why such a successful insect pathogen would colonize plant roots, and we hypothesized that it was providing the plants with nitrogen harvested from insects. We have been investigating if the plant provides the fungus with a carbon source in exchange for insect-derived nitrogen, a feature found in other, more understood, plant/fungal partnerships.

Experience/ Why Brock: I have had a great graduate school experience, Dr. Bidochka has been a great mentor and I have had the opportunity to work closely with a number of wonderful professors from different disciplines.
I did my undergraduate work at Brock as well, and when the opportunity arose to continue my education here, I took it. I am passionate about my project and felt that it provided me with a great opportunity to work on leading research with Dr. Bidochka.
Overall I am very happy with Brock University’s Biotechnology Graduate Program. The professors are approachable and helpful, and they want you to succeed. Brock Graduate Studies has provided me with excellent opportunities for research and publication, and I believe that when I graduate I will be prepared for the next step, whatever that may be.

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