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Graduate School

The University of Mississippi

Biology student expands horizons doing space research

Posted on: February 16th, 2015 by benita

Biology StudentStory by Tyler Carter

Ariel Dauzart, a second-year graduate student seeking her master’s degree in biology, is working with Graduate School Dean John Z. Kiss on space biology research.

Kiss, a professor of biology, said he has been impressed with Dauzart’s work and research.

“Ariel is an excellent graduate student who has been doing a great job with her thesis research. Her work on symbiotic relationships with plants has importance and significance for NASA and future space exploration.”

Dauzart received her bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and had the opportunity to accompany Kiss to the American Society for Gravitational Space Research conference held in Pasadena, California. According to Dauzart, the experience she gained was tremendous, and she left feeling inspired.

“The meeting was an amazing opportunity that allowed me to meet researchers in the field of space biology and learn more about my area of research. I would have to say that the high school research stood out at the conference. It was amazing the work that young scientists are doing in the field of space biology, and it inspired me.”

Dauzart gained her passion for science from listening to her father.

“My father was an advocate of learning science. He fostered our curiosity of the world and taught us to work through problems logically.”

Dauzart is conducting her thesis on the effects of plant-microbe symbiosis under an altered gravitational vector. The research is done here on campus using a rotating apparatus called a clinostat. This machine rotates the plants and microbe slowly for a month, disorienting the plants’ perception of the gravity vector. The time period of rotation allows the organisms enough time to develop a symbiosis so that Dauzart can study any changes in the symbiotic development due to the rotation.

After finishing her master’s education here at the University of Mississippi, Dauzart plans to continue her research in Kiss’ lab and study plant-microbe relationships grown and developed on the International Space Station.