Plants & Labwork

I've been working in a lab at UMaine focusing on rice genetics and plant stress tolerance. I'm a biochemistry major with a focus in plant science, so it's great experience since this is exactly what I want to do with my career.
These are some of my starting rice cultures in a nutrient medium similar to agar gel. Everything must be handled with extreme care to avoid contamination. These will eventually form calluses (undifferentiated cells, kind of like a plant version of stem cells) and then be ready for foreign gene insertion. The transgenic rice plant will then express the recombinant DNA.
This is an Oncidium Orchid, the breed is called "Kinky," lol. These orchids have pseudobulbs that retain water.
Macro shot of my "Kinky" Oncidium orchid. Orchids are one of my favorite plants. These flowers give off a slight fragrance.
This is a violet Phalaenopsis orchid, one of the most common and easiest to care for. Most orchids are epiphytes, meaning they often grow on other plants like trees. Therefore they do not need much soil or water.
This is another violet Phalaenopsis orchid, but younger by a couple years or so. I have been attempting to use a cytokinin hormone, 6-benzylaminopurine, to induce a keiki, or baby plant formation in order to clone my orchids.
These are some plants I have under a fluorescent grow light. From left to right: juvenile Vanda coerulea (my favorite plant ever!), a cloned African Violet cutting using a simple plant hormone called auxin, Forget-Me-Not, and two African Violets.
Vanda coerulea, AKA the blue orchid is my favorite plant ever! This is a photo I took at the National Arboretum in Washington, DC. I only hope mine turns out this amazing!
Basic Tiger Lily. No stalk yet, but I expect one soon. I saved this bulb from last year and I've been really excited to get it growing again. Last year it produced several incredibly large and fragrant blooms. Reminds me of Florida :)
This is a photo I took of my Tiger Lily last Winter (December 2008)
Madagascar Jasmine (and all Jasmine for that matter) is my second favorite plant, mostly for the fragrance of their flowers. Madagascar Jasmine is VERY easy to grow - it grows like a weed, probably because it is a weed! It will strangle other plants. This plant is only a few months old - I created a wire hoop to grow it around. Madagascar Jasmine is the most popular flower for bridal bouquets.
This is a more mature Madagascar Jasmine plant. I have it growing under a special blue/red ratio LED grow light. The only reason it's under control and hasn't flowered is because all its energy is being sapped by producing a seed pod (see below).
I was very excited to discover this seed pod on my Madagascar Jasmine plant months ago, when it was much smaller. It will need a few more months to reach the 5 inch length of a typical MJ seed pod. Then it will dry out and hundreds of small seeds will be wrapped around a concentric pine cone-like center.
Out on the porch I have some hardier plants growing; from the left: black German Bearded Iris (rain destroyed the flowers), tomato plant (I grew it from seed), juvenile morning glory and moonflower (from seed), sprouting watermelon (from seed), and a cat palm, which was also nearly destroyed by the constant rain we're getting this Summer of 2009.