Gann and Dharwadker Receive Awards From the Society for In Vitro Biology

(Right) Dominic Dharwadker, undergraduate student, Honors Biochemistry; (Left) Peter James Gann, doctoral student, Cell and Molecular Biology.
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(Right) Dominic Dharwadker, undergraduate student, Honors Biochemistry; (Left) Peter James Gann, doctoral student, Cell and Molecular Biology.

A doctoral Fulbright scholar from the Cell and Molecular Biology (CEMB) Program and an undergraduate student in Honors Biochemistry from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry are winners of multiple awards from the Society for In Vitro Biology (SIVB).

Peter James Icalia Gann in CEMB was awarded the Hope E. Hopps Award, while Dominic Dharwadker in biochemistry earned the Wilton R. Early Award, and both students are also receiving Student Travel Awards from SIVB. These highly competitive awards provide recognition to students with significant contributions and outstanding achievements in the field of in vitro biology.

As recipients of the Hope E. Hopes Award and Wilton R. Earle Award, Gann and Dharwadker will be presenting their award-winning research projects during the SIVB annual meeting at San Diego, California, in June 2022. In addition, they will be receiving plaques, cash awards and their travel expenses are covered through their Student Travel Awards. Their research projects were also selected as two of the only six finalists for the student oral competition in the SIVB annual meeting.

Gann and Dharwadker started working together in 2020 on using the gene editing tool, CRISPR/Cas9, to elucidate the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms of a gene in the germination, growth and grain-filling of rice. Together, their research projects provide insights on the role of vacuolar H+ translocating pyrophosphatase (V-PPase) on carbohydrate metabolism and cytoplasmic pH balance in the different growth stages of rice.

Gann won for their research project, "Deletion in the GATA Promoter Element of V-PPase by CRISPR/Cas9 Reduces Chalkiness in Rice," and Dharwadker secured an award for their research project, "Targeted Mutagenesis of the V-PPase Promoter Elements Impacts Germination and Seedling Growth in Rice by Inhibiting Sucrose Formation and Acidifying the Cytoplasm."

The duo are advised by Vibha Srivastava of the Department of Crop, Soils and Environmental Sciences. "I am really proud of Peter and Dominic, as they have led the project on their own while I was too sick to advise them on a regular basis. I will be remiss if I did not give full credit to Peter for mentoring Dominic on his award-winning undergraduate research experience," Srivastava said.

About SIVB: The Society for In Vitro Biology (SIVB) is a professional society devoted to fostering the exchange of knowledge of in vitro biology of cells, tissues and organs from both plant and animals (including humans). The focus is on biological research, development and applications of significance to science and society. SIVB's mission is accomplished through the society's two world-class journals and newsletter; national and local conferences, meetings and workshops; and through support of teaching initiatives in cooperation with educational institutions.


Dominic Dharwadker, student
Chemistry and Biochemistry

Andra Parrish Liwag, director of communications
Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences


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