Kaeli Ficco ’24


Chemical and Biological Engineering

Project Title

Probing Suppression and Evasion of the Plant Immune System by Commensals From the Plant Root Microbiome

I studied how root commensal bacteria can suppress the plant immune system to enable these bacteria to cohabitate with the plant. Specifically, I investigated a group of bacteria that share a similar protein that cuts an immune-triggering microbe-associated molecular pattern. I was tasked with deleting these genes and using various assays to quantitatively and qualitatively classify immune suppression of my gene deletion strains compared to the wild-type bacteria. Throughout the internship, I utilized and developed multiple lab procedures including cloning, DNA and protein expression techniques, protein separation techniques and techniques to identify plant immune activation. I also learned valuable scientific presentation and writing skills that I look forward to utilizing as I continue my research in the Conway Lab next year.

Internship Year


Project Category

Food Systems and Health


Conway Lab, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Princeton University - Princeton, New Jersey


Jonathan Conway, Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering; Samuel Eastman, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Chemical and Biological Engineering