Investigating Novel Sources of Resistance to Wheat Stem Sawfly, a Devastating Pest of Wheat

The long-term goal of this project is to evaluate wild wheat species for additional alleles that can enhance development of resistant varieties against the wheat stem sawfly. To this end, we are collaborating with the Wheat Genetics Resources Center at Kansas State University that houses diverse wheat species.
Objective 1: The first goal of this internship is to investigate resistance mechanisms in wild wheat to the wheat stem sawfly. The student intern will be involved in all aspects of the project beginning with growing wild wheat species in the greenhouse, infesting plants with wheat stem sawfly at a field location, and collecting data on the insect performance on the wild wheat species.
Objective 2: The second learning objective is to have the student intern participate in extension outreach events and meetings to understand the role of extension in research. This will be achieved through a series of smaller objectives: (1) The student will shadow the extension mentor to scout field locations and meet with stakeholders about the pest of interest, (2) The intern will attend the annual “Wheat Field Days” where extension agents and farmers meet and talk about current research, and (3) the intern will help prepare portions of extension reports that will be sent to local stakeholders involving their research project.

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