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Anjali Kapoor '20 and Ashana Makhija '20 Publish Research for NCBI
The duckweed plant "Landoltia punctata."

This past summer, Pingry sophomores Anjali Kapoor '20 and Ashana Makhija '20 were among 22 students from high schools in New Jersey, New York, and California who were selected to participate in the Waksman Institute Summer Experience (WISE), an intensive academic science program at the Rutgers University Waksman Institute in Piscataway, NJ. The students learned about, and contributed to, an authentic research project in molecular biology and bioinformatics (a field that develops methods for understanding biological data).

Their project focused on DNA sequence analyses of genes from the duckweed plant Landoltia punctata and how these genes compare to those found in other plant species and organisms; the scientific community is interested in duckweed because of its use in bioremediation (the use of microbes to clean contaminated soil and groundwater) and because of its potential use as a biofuel.

Some of the students' DNA sequence analyses, including those by Anjali and Ashana, were suitable for publication on GenBank, an international online repository maintained by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), which is part of the National Institutes of Health. Anjali's analyses resulted in five publications, and Ashan's resulted in six—all of which can now be used by scientists around the world.

Contact: Greg Waxberg '96, Communications Writer,