Austin Frisbey

MCB PhD Student

MCB Program Start:



University of Texas at El Paso 

Undergrad Degree:

Biomedical Science 

Undergrad Graduation Year

Research Advisor and Department:                                     

Frans Tax, MCB

Research Topic:                                                                            

I work on investigating a molecular mechanism in Arabidopsis thaliana that is involved in allowing plants to respond to heterogeneous distributions of soil nitrogen. Since nitrogen is the most limiting factor of plant growth, plants modulate their root architecture by enhancing lateral root growth in areas of soil with an abundance of nitrogen and inhibiting growth in areas without nitrogen. This allows plants to forage efficiently and conserve resources that go into initiating new root growth. By better understanding how the underlying mechanism controlling this process functions, it can become possible to exploit it for engineering new breeds of crop plants that require less fertilizer to grow, thereby reducing nitrogen pollution from agriculture and increasing profits for farmers, especially those in developing countries.

Lab Rotations
Frans Tax
Monica Schmidt
Mark Beilstein

Hobbie and Interests
 I collect vinyl records and play the bass. I also like to hike and identify plants when it's not too hot.