A Beckman Scholar in the Ward group will characterize tissue-specific growth mutants in Drosophila. During post-embryonic development in animals, organs and tissues grow at different rates relative to each other, suggesting that there must be tissue-specific mechanisms to control their differential post-embryonic growth trajectories. To identify and characterize these tissue-specific growth mechanisms, a Beckman Scholar will identify the responsible gene and analyze the phenotypes from a collection of tracheal growth mutants (isolated in the Ward lab) using complementation analysis and tissue-specific RNA interference. These projects will provide Beckman Scholars with experience in fly husbandry and genetics, cell biology, microscopy, and statistical analysis. They also have open-ended conclusions; thus allowing the scholar a tremendous amount of independence in addressing biological questions. In addition to enhancing the technical efficacy of the scholar, our mentoring plans will aim to increase the critical thinking and communication skills of the student through lab meetings and journal clubs. A Beckman scholar will also be expected to present their work at regional and national meetings in order to develop identity within a scientific community, since identity has been shown to be one of the most critical factors for student advancement in scientific careers.