Graduate Student Profile - Yuanyu (Helen) Cao

Yuanyu (Helen) Cao, PhD Student

Genetics

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Anita Klein

Research Topics: How red alga Porphyra umbilicalis survives desiccation stress/ The population structure of asexual Porphyra umbilicalis in NW Atlantic

Porphyra umbilcalis, as a macrophytic red alga of the Bangiales family, grows in the intertidal zone which is considered as one of Earth’s most physically stressful habitats. It is exposed to daily and seasonally changing temperatures, high levels of irradiance (including UV), and severe osmotic stress and desiccation (genome paper). During desiccation process, Porphyra needs to possess complex mechanisms at morphological, physiological and molecular levels to maintain the cellular integrity, to maintain homeostasis, to repair damage and more importantly to survive the complete loss of water (drying to about ~10% remaining water content). I am now applying biochemical, bioinformatic and molecular techniques to understand the mechanisms why this alga has high ability to survive desiccation stresses.

Hobbies: Traveling and skiing

Why I chose UNH: I chose UNH because of the talented professors and beautiful snow.