FOJBI Friday: Meet Jenna Gallegos, Plant Biologist

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FOJBI Jenna Gallegos

The "Friends of Joe's Big Idea" is a vibrant community of talented people we think you should meet. FOJBI Friday introduces some of these cool communicators of science, in their own words. This week: Jenna Gallegos


I am a fourth-year doctoral student in plant biotechnology at the University of California, Davis. In professor Alan Rose's lab, I study the effect that DNA sequences known as introns have on gene expression in plants.

Passion for science communication

I don't think you should have to have an expensive journal subscription to get access to scientific data, or a Ph.D. to understand it. I engage in science communication to ensure that my research and that of my colleagues makes it out of the lab and into farmers' fields, classrooms and public policy discussions.

Current projects

I write and speak about basic plant biology, agriculture and food science issues through videos, blogging and social media and by volunteering at community events and in K-12 classrooms. I'm also a founding member of the Davis Science Policy and Communication Group, where I engage in a variety of science outreach projects. For example, I wrote a script and led production of a video explaining the genetic basis for why farmers don't save and replant hybrid seeds. To see more of my outreach activities please visit my blog,, or follow me on twitter — @foodbeerscience.

Future plans

After completing my Ph.D. in June 2017, I plan to conduct postdoctoral research in an academic lab before pursuing a position as a research scientist in industry or academia. Whatever I do will include a large teaching and outreach component. My ultimate goal is to use molecular biology to help farmers increase the yield and nutritional quality of their crops, while promoting environmental sustainability.

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