Nanticha is an NSF Graduate Research Fellow and University of California, Berkeley Chancellor's Fellow in the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology. She is advised by Sarah Hake and Jake Brunkard at the Plant Gene Expression Center (PGEC) housed at the US Department of Agriculture.
Nanticha studies the gene Asparaginyl tRNA Synthetase 1 (AsnRS1), for its potential as an amino acid sensor that activates TOR in plant cells. The mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) synchronizes eukaryotic cell growth and metabolism with various environmental inputs, such as nutrients and growth factors. It is widely conserved in many evolutionary lineages and has been examined in great detail due to its importance in human genetic diseases and clinical innovation. Despite its vital importance to growth and metabolism, very little is known about TOR signaling in plants. TOR is expected to be central to amino acid responses in plants and understanding how plants sense amino acid availability is crucial to intelligently breed crops that can overcome the soil nitrogen deficiencies that are among the most significant challenges facing global agriculture.