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Visiting Faculty Program Allows Dr. Ayalew Support in Analyzing Peat Moss

October 2018

Mentewab AyalewMentewab Ayalew, Ph.D., vice chair and associate professor in the Department of Biology, researched and analyzed metagenomic and metatrancriptmic data this summer as part of the Visiting Faculty Program at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. ORNL is designed to increase the research competitiveness of faculty members at institutions historically underrepresented in the research community. The Higher Education Research Experience (HERE) program allows visiting faculty to participate in research during the summer or on a semester basis.

For 10 weeks, Dr. Ayalew examined the metabolic capabilities and activity of bacteria of peat mosses, analyzed data, troubleshot complex problems, and evaluated the results. “Mosses generate large amounts of biomass, despite the harsh and cold environments they inhabit. We believe that the bacteria associated with moss have an important role in supporting that high productivity,” said Dr. Ayalew.

“Our research will identify some of the important bacteria and their contributions, especially related to supplying plants with nitrogen.”

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