By Erica Overfelt | Bond LSC
When Brittany Cruzan does her laundry, she can’t stop thinking about science.
“Science controls our everyday life,” Cruzan said. “Coffee, tea, the way you cut your hair, it’s all science. I’ve liked science since I was a kid. I am obsessed with knowing how things work. I don’t care why but I care for how.
Cruzan applies that desire to know how things work to work in the lab. From her first semester of freshman year to now as a junior, Cruzan been in Mannie Liscum’s lab chasing the how behind the science.
“Freshman year I was sterilizing water and this year I am creating mutations in plants” Cruzan said. “I went from making water and dirt to now making a living organism. I am definitely getting a lot of guidance from grad students but it is exciting to feel independent.”
The lab uses Arabidopsis as their model plant to study its growth and how the plant responds directionally to light. This research can aid scientist in enhancing plant growth in drought and other circumstances, and they use mutations to explore which genes might create characteristics that are more resilient to stress in the environment. Now that Cruzan has her own project it’s easier for her to realize the potential impact this research has on others.
“I am researching to find the maximum potential for plant growth and maximize the output for agriculture,” Cruzan said. “Once we figure this out it could mean more corn, more cows and more full bellies.”
After college Cruzan wants to continue impacting lives. She plans to volunteer before she applies to med school, and she believes life is full of endless possibilities.
“I don’t even know what I’m supposed to do, but I want to make people happy,” Cruzan said. “Anything I can do for the greater good makes me sleep better, whether that is volunteering or doing research to feed the world.”
For now, you can find Cruzan in the lab focused on a way to improve plant growth.
“I don’t think I personally will get far enough to solve world hunger, but if we can figure out a plants growth then we can add to all the research being done,” Cruzan said. “I believe that research creates the world of tomorrow, and while it may seem small today, in 5 years it could change a life.”