Austin Chen

Undergraduate Fellow


“So I worked with Rachel during the school year at the greenhouse on campus and at Forest Park. Rachel does research in plant diseases, which is really interesting. I could see myself doing research as well. I’m pre-med: people diseases and plant diseases go well together.”

When you are out in the field, putting soil into pots, are you thinking of the larger applications for this project or is it more just day-to-day tasks?

“It’s kind of both, day-to-day making sure the plants are okay, growing fine and watering them, and also the larger applications; we have to get data from various latitudinal and longitudinal gradients, to make sure that we get a variety of plants in our census.”

Were there any times when the team banded together?

“Oh, like the time that all 300 of our plants died over the weekend? We had to scramble to plant new ones last week.”

Austin worked with Rachel Penczykowski's Plant Disease team during summer 2018. Learn more about their host-pathogen coevolution research here.