PHHI Puts Students in State-of-the-Art Labs with Internship Program at the N.C. Research Campus

The Plants for Human Health Institute is accepting applications for its internship program at the N.C. Research Campus in Kannapolis. We invite students to submit applications year-round. Interns will be mentored by N.C. State faculty in a variety of laboratory and field environments.

Interns will work with N.C. State faculty from the Plants for Human Health Institute on research activities that include the following:

  1. The development of improved strawberry cultivars adapted to North Carolina’s diverse environmental conditions, providing agricultural competitiveness and healthier options for consumers. Traditional and molecular genetic strategies are used for efficient breeding and selection. Extensive field evaluations at research stations located across North Carolina. Multi- and transdisciplinary approaches incorporate expertise in genetics, horticulture, plant pathology, entomology, postharvest physiology and economics.
  2. Research activities are geared toward the evaluation of fruits and vegetables during and after storage in terms of consumer quality and phytonutrient content. Duties will entail laboratory work with fruit rating, sample preparation, analysis for phytonutrients, lab maintenance and data entry. Computer skills are a prerequisite. Interns also will be responsible for organizing scientific papers.
  3. Internship opportunity entails linking the fields of metabolomics and genomics. Particular interest lies in the production of secondary metabolites that may have a function in health promotion and in natural products. Past interns have learned to do polymerase chain reaction (PCR), extract DNA, design PCR primers and conduct multiple sequence alignment. Experience is provided in the laboratory, greenhouse and field environments.
  4. Interns in the laboratory will participate in research in the area of natural products.  Investigation of bioactive compounds in blueberries and other berries utilizes high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), high resolution liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS), as well as nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) instrumentation. Investigations also emphasize the identification of genes responsible for the production of these bioactive compounds. Interns will investigate plants for antimalarial properties – many of these plants are from North Carolina.
  5. Interns will participate in discovery of pharmacologically active phytochemicals with potential efficacy in metabolic syndrome and physical fitness, using high content cellular assays, real time PCR and small animal research models in the laboratory settings. Research topic review, laboratory maintenance and data management experience will be provided as well.
  6. Interns will participate in a research program to discover novel plant secondary metabolites and to elucidate genes and pathways involved in their production. The most popular model plant, Arabidopsis thaliana, will be used in this study. The research activities will provide interns experience and training in multiple scientific disciplines including molecular biology (DNA and RNA isolation, PCR and construct generation), genetics (genotyping, T-DNA knockout mutant analysis), and biochemistry (recombinant protein expression and purification, enzyme assays and HPLC metabolite profiling).
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