The end of summer meant goodbye to our excellent REU student Saisuki Putumbaka. Suki was here for two months and worked on fungal-bacteria interactions project as part of the UCR Research Experiences for Undergraduates organized through the Center for Plant Cell Biology. Under the guidance of Derreck she tested ideas about the bacteria harbored by a broad range of zygomycete fungi from our draft genome sequencing projects. She also learned how to take pictures of some of these fungi and observing how they sped up the rotting process in fruit. Alas the best laid plans to compare microbiomes of these samples did not come to fruition but I think there were some lessons in there about how science works some of the time.
It was really a joy having her in the group and we are excited about her finishing her senior year at The College of New Jersey and applying to graduate school next. Many of the lab members helped to make sure Suki was properly introduced her to Southern California delights from Joshua Tree National Park, the Pacific Ocean, and In-n-Out Burger.