Sarina Wen ’26


Chemical and Biological Engineering

Project Title

Probing Microbial Colonization of Plants During Drought to Enable Microbiome-mediated Resilience in Crops

Certificate(s): Biotechnology, Neuroscience

I worked at the Stony Ford Seed Farm and Conway Lab at Princeton University, where I gained valuable laboratory and field skills by working on various projects related to agriculture and crop resilience. For the drought project, I planted seeds and crafted a watering system that puts plants through a simulated drought. This setup allows for later sampling and investigation of the microbiomes to gain knowledge of plant-microbial interactions during droughts. In another project, I tagged, organized and documented over 1,500 okra plants to later harvest to evaluate for seed oil content in hopes of discovering a new alternative and more sustainable oil source. In the laboratory, I worked to purify and extract DNA from Arabidopsis plants and performed polymerase chain reactions to identify primers for future research. I also performed lab tests to determine whether plants were homozygous for certain genes. I loved learning about what can be accomplished through chemical and biological engineering and cannot wait to do more of this type of research.

* This internship is connected to the HMEI Water and the Environment Grand Challenges project, “Probing Microbial Colonization of Plants During Drought to Enable Microbiome-Mediated Resilience in Crops.”

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