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STREAM students showcase their work at Argonne National Laboratory

STREAM students showcase their work at Argonne National Laboratory

STREAM Argonne 2

Last summer, STREAM seniors, Ava Bellwoar, Maggie DeFend, Catherine Lacala, and Mila Munson were accepted into Argonne National Laboratory’s Exemplary Student Research Program. 

Schools accepted into the program use Argonne’s world-class facilities at the Advanced Photon Source (APS). Since June 2023, this group has worked with Argonne scientists to conduct a research project from start to finish.

The RES team has studied how to take X-Ray fluorescence of plant tissues to see how far arsenic traveled into the plant's edible tissue. Throughout their research, they worked with their science mentor to prepare a research proposal; design and set up an experiment; gather and analyze data; make conclusions; and create a final poster. 

On April 19th, the RES team defended research methods, analysis, and conclusions before Argonne scientists, teachers, professors, and their peers at the Exemplary Student Research Program (ESRP) poster session.

Based on the team's research they found the following: Chronic ingestion of arsenic (As) with drinking water and food causes arsenicosis, a morbid systemic syndrome characterized by skin lesions, cancers, systemic pathologies and high mortality. It is estimated that more than 100 million people worldwide are affected by the elevated levels of arsenic in drinking water. Plants readily accumulate arsenic from contaminated soils and irrigation water. This presents a significant channel of arsenic exposure to the population, especially in arsenicosis-affected areas where irrigated crops are the main staple of the diet. In addition, elevated arsenic in the environment is shown to reduce yields due to its toxicity to plants. Breeding of resistant crop varieties with low accumulation of arsenic in edible parts requires an understanding of complex molecular interactions in plant arsenic metabolism. Auxin signaling was shown to be implicated in the stress responses of plants to toxic metals. In this work, we employ X-ray fluorescence microprobe imaging of plant tissues to elucidate the effects of mutations in the PIN family of auxin membrane transporters on arsenic uptake, accumulation, and sequestration in model plants. The obtained results will assist in the screening and selection of target genes in crop plants with a lower accumulation of arsenic.

Resurrection was the only all-girls and Catholic school represented amongst Whitney M. Young Magnet School and the Naperville school district. For more information on Argonne National Laboratory’s Exemplary Student Research Program log onto their website: