UK Student Earns Prestigious SURF Award


LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 14, 2011) The American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) has named UK undergraduate Taylor Lloyd recipient of the 2011 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) award. The SURF program allows chosen undergraduate students from all over the country conduct important plant biology research in their daily college careers.

Lloyd, whose project is titled, "Using the phage display and biopanning to examine the diversity of seed proteins associating with a LEA protein at supraoptimal germination temperatures," is one of 15 recipients selected for SURF out of 115 applicants.  Lloyd's research is important because seeds are key to over 70 percent of our food, and therefore this work will help give a better understanding of the regulatory mechanisms that govern germination.  

"In nature, failure to regulate germination comes with a high cost. Our research goal is to better understand how seeds control germination through light and temperature signaling pathways. If a seed is germinated under improper temperature, it could face supraoptimal or suboptimal temperatures resulting in failure of seedling establishment," Lloyd said.

A. Bruce Downie, associate professor of horticulture at UK, is a vital component of the progression, serving as Lloyd's mentor and an ASPB member. A mentoring plan is an imperative part of the proposal and all SURF students must work with a mentor who is an ASPB member.

Lloyd said this experience may lead to a first author publication. "While the award alone is significant to my progress, the time it gives me to learn more about research and the presentation experience combined will send me into graduate school as a top candidate."

This year marks the beginning of the second decade of ASPB's largely effective SURF awards program, and not only does the program promote undergraduate research in plant science but the fellowships also support each SURF student's presentation of a poster at ASPB's annual meeting in the year following the research project. Lloyd, along with the 14 other recipients, will conduct her research this summer and will present her findings at "Plant Biology 2012," held July 20-24, 2012, in Austin, Texas.

Each recipient of the award receives a $4,000 summer stipend, a one-year membership in ASPB and $700 toward the cost of materials and supplies. ASPB's goal is to provide assistance and help contribute to the next generation of plant biologists by funding the selected students who all have tremendous potential. 

For a full list of the awardees, their mentors, and project titles, visit

MEDIA CONTACT:  Jessica Hancock or Carl Nathe, (859) 257-1754, ext. 238 , ; ; ;