Jessica Rodrigues is pursuing a Ph.D. in Plant Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. A recipient of the International Fulbright Science & Technology Award, Jessica pursues research that uses rice as a model species from which to explore how DNA methylation and histone modifications regulate gene expression in plants.
A major focus of her project is the role these modifications play in seed development. Seeds are a storehouse of nutrients, not just for the sprouting plant but also for much of the human population. Therefore, knowledge of how patterns of gene expression are set up in the developing seed will aid efforts to improve the nutritional value of rice and other cereals. As cereals are a major food staple in both the developing and developed world, improved crops have the potential to address both current and imminent nutritional issues facing the globe.
Jessica completed her undergraduate degree in Biotechnology at the University of Auckland, located in her hometown of Auckland, New Zealand. She enjoys painting, writing poetry, baking, traveling and meeting people.