Researcher Ruth Welti at Kansas State University is analyzing lipids, helping scientists around the world understand plant responses and develop crops that can better withstand environmental stress.
Welti, a university distinguished professor of biology, recently received a grant of more than $440,000 from the National Science Foundation’s Major Research Instrumentation program. The grant — with matching money from the university — will help buy an advanced mass spectrometer for the Kansas Lipidomics Research Center, which Welti directs.
The spectrometer researchers study plant responses to heat and cold, plant infection by pathogens, and the development of plants and seeds, including seed oil production.
"We are trying to understand the basis for the way plants respond to stresses so the information can be used to improve crop plants," Welti said. "We want to obtain global information on plant responses and see how it relates to plant genotype."