2022-2023 Executive Board Members


María- José Romero-JiménezPhD Student, Oregon State University


Hello! My name is Maria-Jose Romero-Jimenez. I use she/her/hers pronouns and I am from Liberia, Costa Rica. I am a PhD student in Posy Busby’s lab at Oregon State University. For the past two years I have served as the MSA SPS Webmaster updating job positions, newsletters, student spotlights, resources, and the Mycology Colloquiums on the student website! I am interested in continuing to work with students to highlight the amazing work we do, provide opportunities to share our stories, and make more resources and MSA more accessible. in addition to my MSA SPS duties as a webmaster, I have participated in several outreach activities including: Harry Potter camp, virtual Science Camp, helped Girl Scouts earn their science badges, and virtually co-mentored high school, students from Guanacaste on the design of an app prototype for National Parks in Costa Rica. As vice-president of WIU’s BGSA and with the collaboration of a great team we organized and hosted the Midwest Ecology and Evolution Conference in 2020 with the attendance of ~150 students, post-docs and faculty members. At the Botany and Plant Pathology Department at OSU, I am  part of the Extension and Outreach Committee and recently started to help tweeting at BPP’s GSA Twitter (@osu_bpp_grads) account. As Vice-Chair I would like to help with off-season activities including the Student’s Mycology Colloquiums. 


Abbey Neat – PhD Student, Oregon State University

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My name is Abbey Neat and I am a first year PhD student in the Busby Lab at Oregon State University. I am nominating myself for the Treasurer Position on the MSA Student Society Executive Board. Although I do not have any formal experiences as a treasurer, I have had a lifelong interest in managing finances. I minored in Economics as an undergraduate student, and in doing so had the opportunity to enroll in multiple business and personal finance classes. My most recent experience with budgeting has been through creating (then sticking to!) a proposed grant application budget. This perspective allowed me to see the importance of clearly defining and tracking finances when planning research projects. I believe that these tools will translate well to managing the MSA Student Society expenses. Lastly, this experience of budgeting a research project showed me the important role that funding and scholarships can play in driving science forward. If I were to serve on the MSA endowment committee, I hope to contribute a thoughtful perspective to the decision-making.


Nicole Reynolds – Postdoctoral Researcher, Cornell University

The MSA has helped shape my progress as a student and researcher, particularly by attending the annual meetings where I became to feel a part of the mycological community. I am glad to support the society and its members and hopefully help others along their path. My interest in fungi began with learning about the understudied group, trichomycetes (fungi that live in the digestive tract of insects), during my undergraduate mycology class taught by Dr. Merlin White at Boise State University. I then went on to work with Dr. White for my master’s degree focused on the protist members of the trichomycetes. At the end of my program, Dr. White encouraged me to continue on and apply for a position with Dr. Matt Smith at the University of Florida. As a PhD student in Dr. Smith’s lab, I learned more about the fascinating phylum Zoopagomycota which contains mycoparasites (fungi that attack other fungi) and parasites of small animals like nematodes and amoebae. Now as a postdoctoral researcher in Dr. Teresa Pawlowska’s lab at Cornell University, I am studying the diversity and evolution of Mucoromycota fungi and their endosymbiotic bacterial relationships. This project includes aspects of the relationship ranging from specific fungus-bacteria partner interactions to community ecology across biomes.

Merchandise Chair

Fabiola Pulido-Chavez PhD Candidate, UC Riverside

I am currently a Ph.D. candidate in Plant Pathology at the University of California-Riverside, where I study post-fire soil microbial successional and functional dynamics under the mentorship of Dr. Sydney Glassman. Where not only do I get to do labwork, but I get to explore recently burned forests over time and see how the soil and plant community recovers.  I earned a Master of Science in Forestry at the University of Washington-Seattle,  where I studied the ectomycorrhizal fungi of burned Ponderosa pine forest in Eastern Washington and I earned a bachelor of science in Environmental Science from California State University-Fresno. 

I am devoted to increasing diversity in Science, especially in the realm of mycology, as such, I am active in various national committees including serving as the merchandise chair on the MSA-Student and Postdoc Section and the vice-chair for MSA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) section. Moreover, I am the student representative for the Ecological Society of America-Microbial Ecology section.


Thomas Roehl PhD Student, Clark University

Hello, MSA Students and Postdocs! My name is Thomas Roehl (he/him/his) and I am a Ph.D. student in the Hibbett Lab at Clark University. Although I am currently in New England, my mycological home is the Central Appalachians. I was first introduced to mycology on Salt Pond Mountain in southwestern Virginia over a decade ago (has it really been that long?). I fell in love with mushroom hunting on Lewis Mountain in the foothills around the University of Virginia (B.S. Biology, 2013). I decided I could really do mycology as a career in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania. Of course, I’m also inspired by fungi from other places as well. I was drawn to mushroom development during my masters work (M.S., University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, 2022) thanks to malformed Amanita specimens from Maryland and an oddball Oudemansiella furfuracea from Michigan. I’m now using Lentinus tigrinus to study mushroom evolutionary development, a field I enjoy because of the many ways it connects to and integrates knowledge from other mycological fields. Keep your eyes peeled and stop to smell the mushrooms!


Samira Fatemi – PhD Candidate, Purdue University

Samira Fatemi (she/her/hers or they/them/theirs) is a Ph.D. candidate in the Aime Lab at Purdue University. She is the MSA SPS Treasurer for 2022-2023 and has been a member of MSA since 2019. Samira studies the yeasts of Sporidiobolaceae (Pucciniomycotina, Microbotryomycetes). Her dissertation focuses on developing a biotechnological foundation Sporobolomyces lactucae, a prominent component of the lettuce mycobiome, for potential food safety applications. Samira earned their M.S. in Agricultural and Biological Engineering (2017) from Purdue and their B.S. in Biological Engineering (2015) from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. In her spare time, Samira enjoys hiking, camping, gardening, and swimming. If it’s too cold in Indiana to be outdoors, you’ll probably find her at TJ Maxx.

Social Media Coordinator

Xiomy-Janiria Pinchi-Dávila – PhD Student, University of Georgia

morchella - Xiomy Janiria Pinchi Dávila

My name is Xiomy and I am from Peru. Currently, I’m a first-year PhD student working under the supervision of Dr. Anny Chung in the Plant Pathology Department at the University of Georgia. My project focuses on understanding the mechanisms of sorghum microbiome assembly under different abiotic stresses. Previous to my PhD, I received a Master’s degree from Western Illinois University, where I worked with Dr. Andrea Porras-Alfaro describing a new fungal species. During my master’s degree, I volunteered in some outreach activities like Girl Scout STEM and Biology Day. Since last year, I have participated in several colloquium and journal club activities with peruvian students. These activities focused on career development (how to make a CV, how to connect with researchers, how to use social media to find your dream job) and science in general. I also created and still manage a facebook page called “Hongos Peru” where I often share scientific information, conferences or any other activity related with fungi. I would like to be the Communication Chair because I think I can introduce MSA to more people outside the US network, especially to latin-american researchers.  I aim to make science more accessible to non-english speakers and post announcements in english and spanish.  I hope I can have the opportunity to serve in the student section and bring more diversity into MSA!

Post-doc Representative

Cassie EttingerPostdoctoral Scholar, University of California, Riverside

EttingerPhoto - Cassandra Ettinger

Cassie Ettinger is currently a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Microbiology & Plant Pathology at UC Riverside advised by Dr. Jason Stajich. With Dr. Stajich, she is working on a variety of genomic, metagenomic and phylogenomic projects at the interface of both host (insect, amphibian, seaweed and seagrass) and microbe (bacteria, fungi) interactions. Additionally, she is working on methods development related to fungal metagenomics and reproducible workflows. Previously, she received her Ph.D. in Integrative Genetics and Genomics at UC Davis in Dr. Jonathan Eisen’s laboratory where she studied the seagrass microbiome and seagrass mycobiome. She received her B. A. in Molecular and Cell Biology with a Genetics, Genomics and Development emphasis from UC Berkeley in the spring of 2013. While at UC Berkeley she did research in Dr. Ellen Simms’ lab on multiple projects involving rhizobia-legume symbiosis. Her current research interests range from sea to summit and encompass questions related to host-microbiome interactions, host-microbiome coevolution and marine fungi. During her Ph.D., Cassie served for two years as the graduate representative on her department’s admissions committee and also for two years as co-chair of the Coastal and Marine Science Institute’s Graduate Student Affairs committee. Cassie is passionate about open and reproducible science practices and is currently a National Microbiome Data Collective Champion and 2021 ASAPbio fellow. As a budding marine mycologist and established microbial ecologist, Cassie is interested in bringing her unique viewpoint to the committee as well as finding and building a relationship with the larger #MycoFam community.

Past Chair

Tania Kurbessoian PhD Candidate, University of California, Riverside

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My previous experience in school or organization affiliated volunteering has been occurring for the past 8 years. As an undergraduate and Masters student at Cal State Northridge I’ve worked with the local chapter of ASM (on my campus was called MSA too, Microbiology Students Association) as the Secretary, Treasurer then President for 4 years (2012-2016). I’ve organized, planned and executed many microbiology related events (Beer Brewing, Wine Making, Networking, CLS). For the past 8 years I have also been involved with my local mycological organization (Los Angeles Mycological Society- LAMS), setting up events at the OC Fair and the Natural History Museums to better engage with everyday folk and to get them interested in fungi! Coming to UC Riverside I began involving myself in the local Micro-GSA (Graduate Student Association) as an outreach coordinator, Vice President and President. I was the Social Outreach coordinator at another organization called AWIS (Association for Women in Science), and am now the Co-President where we are interested in fostering stronger bonds for women in all parts of science, connecting them to proper mentors who can take them to the right places, and just being an overall support system. With MSA SPS, 2019-2020 I was the Communications Chair, and 2020-2021 the Vice Chair and loved my experience working with the folks in this organization and would love to continue to do so. I believe organizations like yours only help enrich the experience of being an early scientist and help garner other skills that may not be available as just a student. Currently I am a PhD candidate in the Stajich lab, studying the role of melanized fungi in biological crust systems through Microbiology, Computational Biology and Mycological techniques. Follow me @BYUnleashed on Twitter for updates!