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GONZAGA UNIVERSITY NEWS FEATURE
By Megan Hervey
Class of 2011
|Zag Undergrad Trevor Davis Lands Research Grant|
Gonzaga University biology major Trevor Davis has received full funding for his research proposal and while the $1,000 grant might be considered modest by some, it’s monumental for this student-researcher.
Davis said he hopes his research will eventually aid his adviser, Julie Beckstead, associate professor of biology, in her research to discover ways to control cheatgrass, an invasive weed that has caused disturbances in Eastern Washington’s natural ecosystem.
“Our lab is currently exploring the feasibility of using a fungal pathogen that infects and kills cheatgrass seeds to help control its exclusion of [the] native plants,” Davis said of Beckstead’s research. Davis said the fungus Beckstead and other Gonzaga researchers are exploring to control cheatgrass is Black Fingers of Death. Davis said his research is crucial to determine whether BFOD can be used as an effective cheatgrass treatment.
“Hopefully this will help the lab in its ultimate goal of controlling cheatgrass,” Davis said.
Beckstead said it is unusual for an undergraduate student to receive a research grant like the one Davis has garnered.
“I am unaware of other students in biology who have written a nationally competitive grant and received their own funding for their research,” Beckstead said.
“The grant will be extremely helpful to my scientific goals,” Davis said. “After I leave Gonzaga I plan to enter graduate school to pursue a Ph.D., and being able to say that I’ve written and successfully received an individual grant will tell prospective advisers and universities that I’m serious about research and have the skills necessary to be successful in science.”
Davis plans to begin ordering supplies for his research as soon as the grant is dispersed to him and he will then immediately begin his summer research.
“Trevor is already on a path to innovate important contributions to scientific research,” Beckstead said. “Trevor’s potential research success is evident by his pursuit of an unexplored and important microbial interaction of a seed pathogen.”
Davis said the granting process is a big part of science.
“Researchers have to apply for grants constantly if they want to have the funds they need, so I think having had the application experience already will be very helpful in graduate school and as I move into my career,” he said.
“I wasn’t sure how competitive it was, but since it’s a national organization I didn’t expect to be selected,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity that I’m very happy about.”