Alumni, Press Releases, Student Life

NCC Alumnus Presents At Meet The Scientist Event

Ismael Gomez, William Kohlway, Andrew Pais

Math & Science Club President Ismael Gomez, NCC Alum William Kohlway, NC State Graduate Student Andrew Pais

The Nash Community College Math & Science Club recently welcomed two graduate students from the department of Biology at NC State University, during its Meet the Scientist event. NCC Alumnus William Kohlway, a Nash-Rocky Mount Early College High School graduate, earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees and is now working towards his doctorate. Kohlway and  Andrew Pais each spoke about their research on dogwoods and pine trees as well as their experiences as graduate students. Kohlway also remarked on the many places his graduate work had taken him around the world.

Both students are working in the field of functional genomics with practical applications to agriculture.  Kohlway’s research is focused on Fraser Firs which are very susceptible to a fungal disease that results in a quick and terminal decline. He is trying to find parts of the genome that might confer resistance to the fungus so that tree farmers can breed those genes into their Christmas tree lines. Pais is working on a similar project with North Carolina’s state flower, the dogwood. He is using next-gen DNA sequence data to better understand the relationships of dogwoods around the world and reveal parts of the genome associated with desirable traits such as disease resistance, drought tolerance and more.