Viviana June


  • Time Zone

  • Organization
    UT Austin

  • Role
    Scientist Mentor: I will mentor teams of students online

  • Research Interests (300 words)
    I am interested in studying why hybrid plants are larger than their parents are. Hybrid organisms come from crossing two species (for example, a liger is a hybrid, and is the child of a lion and a tiger). Hybrids are always larger than their parents - we call this phenomenon "hybrid vigor". I study why hybrid plants are larger than their parents - in particular, why hybrid seeds are larger than non-hybrid seeds.

  • Profile Question 1
    What is the coolest thing you have discovered or learned about plants?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 1 here (300 words):
    You can put a stem from one plant onto the roots of another plant, and they will grow together if you use plants that are closely related to another! This process is known as grafting, and it's used to grow a lot of the fruit that we eat. One of the coolest things about grafting is that it is possible to make trees that make different fruits by grafting a few different stems onto the same roots - for example, it's possible to make a tree that makes plums, peaches and cherries. One guy even managed to make a tree that produces 40 different types of fruit!

  • Profile Question 2
    What is your favorite plant? Why?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 2 here (300 words):
    Probably Arabidopsis thaliana, which is like the fruit fly of plants. It's a small plant that grows quickly and is great for science experiments. I work with it every day, and I've learnt so much about how plants grow from studying it! Second place would have to be the prickly pear cactus. I'm from Texas, and it grows everywhere here! Not only are the flowers beautiful, but it is also edible and makes a tasty fruit!

  • Profile Question 3
    What is a typical day like for you?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 3 here (300 words):
    Typically, I will do a few experiments at the lab bench - for example, PCR to determine if a gene is present in the plants I am studying. I will also do some plant care, like watering them or harvesting seeds. I'll also spend a part of my day doing bioinformatics analysis on my computer - some of my experiments include studying thousands of genes, and so I need to analyze the results on the computer (it would take way too long to do all that math by hand!). I'll also spend time writing up my results in my notebook and planning the next day's experiments.

  • Help represent the outreach efforts of your societies. Please click all those organizations you are a member of:
    (not set)

  • Availability
    I am currently available for mentoring, please send me team match invitations

  • In addition to English, I am comfortable communicating with students in the following languages:
    (not set)

  • Capacity: How many teams at a time are you comfortable working with?

Skills & Endorsements

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