Meet Katherine Murphy, Plant Biology Graduate Student and Grad Slam Finalist

UC Davis Grad Slam Finalist Katherine Murphy
This year Plant Biology Graduate Group student Katherine Murphy is among the finalists. Karin Higgins

Meet Katherine Murphy, Plant Biology Graduate Student and Grad Slam Finalist

About Grad Slam

UC Grad Slam is an annual contest in which master’s and Ph.D. students across UC campuses – in disciplines ranging from hard sciences to humanities – compete to sum up their research for a general audience. Students should present the significance and fundamental points of their work at UC Davis in a clear, direct, and interesting manner. Below you'll learn more about Grad Slam Finalist Katherine Murphy, a plant biology graduate student.

Katherine Murphy

Program and Degree
Plant Biology, Ph.D. program, 4th year
Designated Emphasis in Biotechnology

Research Interests
The role of diterpenoids in maize (corn) stress resistance.

Previous Degree(s) and College(s)
Bachelor of Science in Chemistry with Honors, Stanford University

Grad Slam Presentation Title
Call the Plant Doctor

Describe your presentation style in three words.
Passionate, energetic, corny

What did you do to prepare for Grad Slam?
I practice my talk during my bike commute. I look strange talking to myself, but I've gotten a lot of practice!

What initially attracted you to your field of study?
I love molecules and have found that plants are far better at chemistry than people are. I found a passion for corn research as an undergraduate where I can study chemistry and help feed the world.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I garden, exercise, and watch reality TV with friends!

If you could invite one person (from any point in history) to sit in the audience and view your presentation at the March 13 Final Round, who would it be and why?
My Grandpa Murphy, because I think he would be really proud of me.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Standing in a corn field, teaching my students how to pollinate corn, and marveling at something cool we are discovering.

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Graduate Student Stories