Research projects

Systematics of Boraginaceae.  This is an ongoing project.  Focus is on embryological and phytochemical studies on various taxa of this family.  For details see publications.

Cytoembryology and cytotaxonomy of  Liliaceae:  This is also an ongoing project on various taxa ( wild and cultivated) of this family.  Current focus is Ornithogalum and Tulipa.  For details see publications.

Reproductive Biology of Populus tremuloides Michx.  This project began in spring 1993, with an exciting discovery of bisexuality in Quaking Aspens .  The study involved physiological, morphological, and developmental aspects of male, female and the bisexual aspens.   The physiological aspects of this study have involved measuring sex hormones in the various parts of male, female and the bisexual trees through radio-immunoassays and GC-MS. The developmental studies have involved studying the development of flowers, male and the female gametes and the seed development. The morphological studies have involved study of both vegetative and reproductive structures.   For details on this project see publications.

Vascular plant checklist for Two Moon Park near Billings Montana: This project began in spring 1998 and was completed in summer 2000.    The project involved collecting, identifying, describing, photographing and preparing herbarium specimens of all plants found in the study area (Two Moon Park) over a three year period.    This information is valuable to taxonomists, ecologists and others in this region.   For details on this project see publications.

Flight Bee-Havior and Root growth Adaptation in Reduced and Enhanced Gravity: This was one of the 48 projects selected in NASA’s 1999 national competition under Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunities Program.  Two of our students Aimee Crowley and Heather Stein carried this experiment on the Vomit Comet.   Montana Space Grants Consortium funded the entire project that covered two weeks of living expenses and airfare to Houston, Texas for all participants.  In addition, both our students were awarded $500.00 stipend through ARES program for conducting the follow up research on root growth part of the project.  This was a first collaborative project between MSU Bozeman, Dull Knife Memorial College and MSUB; Two engineering students from MSU Bozeman built the apparatus for two separate experiments that were carried on KC-135A.   Besides the research, this event was covered on national and local television and other news media as “onions in space”.   The results of this study were presented at the annual meeting of the Montana Academy of Sciences with students as co-presenters.  For details of this projects see flying onions.

  Genotoxic effects of Hypo and Hypergravity in Allium cepa  L. This is one of the projects that in progress and involves the effects of gravity on mitotic index and reproductive development through ground experiments to study the effects of variable hypergravity on onion root meristematic cells, sporogenesis and development of gametophytes.  In November 2001 results were presented at the American Gravitational and Space Biology conference.   For details on this project see spinning onions.

  Assessment of water quality in Yellowstone River Basin: This is also a new project that I started in April 2000 in collaboration with USGS.   Mr. Peter Wright of USGS supplies all the surface water and ground water samples collected for their National Water Quality Assessment of Yellowstone River and its tributaries.  We are assessing water quality through screening for genotoxic effects of any pollutants/chemicals in Allium.  Three students worked on this project with a grant from Montana Space Grant Consortium ARES program.  Some results of this study were presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Advancement of Sciences (AAAS)  in  summer 2002  in Hawai.