Benjamin Gordon
Year: 2011
Faculty Advisor: Thomas Brutnell

Plant-Pathogen Relationship Database

The goal of creating a plant-pathogen relationship database is to understand plant pathogens and the way they affect plants. Identifying organism-organism interactions and how they work can be of great practical use to scientists and the agriculture industry, especially in their pursuit to engineer plant resistance. Uploading this information to the SGN website will create a universal resource. Moreover, other scientists will have the capability of contributing to this database. Ultimately, this shared source of information will be an informative addition to the tomato genome project that Sol Genomics runs. Beyond recognizing the pathogens of interest are the chemical pathways, as well as, the genetic and hormonal interactions involved in the symbiosis. In order to create a comprehensive database, research, programming, and curation was needed every step of the way. Techniques and tools, such as Perl, SQL, and DBIx::Class, were used. Over one hundred pathogens were identified by use of primary literature.

My Experience

This summer was a great experience. As a biological science major, I appreciated the applications of bioinformatics as I completed my project. I did not have much programming experience before I came to Boyce Thompson, but I definitely learned a lot during my time here. Next year I will be a sophomore and I will be working in a developmental biology lab at Cornell University. While not all the work will involve computer programming, some bioinformatics will be used. I am fortunate to have acquired these skills and have the opportunity to further apply what I have learned.