W.M. Keck Science Department Professor Bryan Thines Selected for US Department of Energy Research Program

Claremont, Calif. (March 2, 2012) — Assistant Professor of Biology Bryan Thines is one of 26 scientists selected to participate in the US Department of Energy (DOE) Joint Genome Institute’s Undergraduate Research Program in Microbial Genome Annotation.

The DOE’s Joint Genome Institute (JGI) is spearheading an effort to sequence thousands of microbial genomes. Students in JGI’s Undergraduate Research Program in Microbial Genome Annotation get hands-on experience annotating and studying these genomes. Students in Thines’ class Genomic and Bioinformatics will be directly involved in a research project that focuses on how the circadian clock influences the ability of plants to respond to heat stress.

Thines describes the circadian clock as “an internal molecular timekeeper” that creates circadian rhythms, such as the sleep-wake cycles in humans. In plants, the clock controls responses to light and to cold temperatures, making plants more responsive to light during the day and more responsive to cold at night. Thines’ research will explore whether plants respond in the same way if they experience warm temperature at nighttime versus daytime.

“Plant responses to warm temperature is an especially timely topic to study, as climate change and attendant temperature variation have already influenced natural plant populations and agricultural productivity worldwide,” Thines said.

Thines teaches biology at the W.M. Keck Science Department, a program of Claremont McKenna College, Pitzer College and Scripps College.

About Pitzer College

Pitzer College is a nationally top-ranked undergraduate liberal arts and sciences institution. A member of The Claremont Colleges, Pitzer offers a distinctive approach to a liberal arts education by linking intellectual inquiry with interdisciplinary studies, cultural immersion, social responsibility and community involvement. For more information, please visit www.pitzer.edu.

About the W.M. Keck Science Department

The W.M. Keck Science Department is the interdisciplinary home to all biology, chemistry, and physics faculty for Pitzer, Claremont McKenna and Scripps colleges. The department is administered cooperatively and is housed within an 81,000-square-foot center located at the intersection of the three colleges. The department offers 13 discrete degree options, including dual-degree programs in partnership with schools of engineering and majors in conjunction with disciplines outside the sciences. The W.M. Keck Science Department provides comprehensive, interdisciplinary instruction in small class settings and numerous opportunities for students to conduct research.

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