P. cinnamomi Genetics Post-Doc

The Manosalva laboratory at UCR is recruiting for a highly motivated postdoc to work on different projects recently funded by USDA grants to understand P. cinnamomi (Pc) genetic and phenotypic diversity, host adaptation, and to develop molecular diagnostics tools. Phytophthora species’overall economic damage to crops in the United States (US) is estimated to be in the tens of billions of dollars, including the costs of control measures. Phytophthora cinnamomi, a widely distributed devastating soil-borne oomycete pathogen, causes Phytophthora Root Rot (PRR) in over 5,000 plant species including many of importance in agriculture, forestry, horticulture, and nursery industry. Avocado PRR remains the common hindrance to avocado production worldwide. This pathogen affects approximately 60-75% of California (CA) avocado growers causing losses of $40 million annually. Despite the importance of this devastating pathogen, the mechanisms explaining the genetic and phenotypic variability as well as host adaptation are completely unknown. Moreover, the recent identification of fungicide resistant Pc isolates that are also more virulent in avocado argues for the development of new strategies for Pc management.

Description. The successful candidate will lead existing and new projects focused on elucidating the molecular basis of pathogen genotypic and phenotypic diversity by integrating molecular, biochemical, genomic,
transcriptomic, and comparative genomics approaches. The appointed will also oversee the P. cinnamomi lab collection and will also participate in the pathogen yearly surveys with other members of the Manosalva research
team. This candidate will work with and assist US collaborators on the development of isolate/clade/phenotypicspecific DNA- and protein-based diagnostic tools that will allow us to monitor the spread and distribution of more virulent and fungicide resistant isolates as well as to detect the emergence or introductions of new P. cinnamomi isolates, which can be detrimental for agriculture, forestry, natural communities, and biodiversity. This position entails laboratory, greenhouse, and field work. The appointee will analyze data, write progress reports, and publications in a timely manner as well as work and train graduate and undergraduate students in the lab.

Minimum qualifications
• A Ph.D. in plant pathology, microbiology, or related areas.
• Experience working with oomycete or fungal pathogens (basic laboratory culture and greenhouse inoculation methods).
• Demonstrated skills and experience analyzing Next Generation Sequencing data.
• Experience with execution of bioinformatic pipelines for genome and transcriptome sequencing analyses.
• Extensive experience with DNA- and RNA-based techniques including nucleic acid isolation and qPCR.
• Strong publication records.
• Excellent communication and writing skills, since this position involves preparing research progress reports and assisting the PI in publications and grant writing activities.
• Work independently and in a collaborative multidisciplinary environment. The appointee will interact with a big research team of ~14 Co-Project Directors with different areas of expertise including Horticulturist, Plant Pathologist, Plant Breeders, Engineers, Bioinformaticians, Farm Advisors, and Extension Faculties.

Preferred qualifications
• Candidates with dual background in Phytophthora spp. biology and genomics will be strongly considered.
• Experience/knowledge related to plant-oomycete molecular interactions and effectoromics will be a plus.
• Experience working with pathogen diagnostic tools such as mitochondrial haplotypes, qPCR, and recombinase polymerase amplification (RPA) will be a plus.
• Knowledge of Linux and computer programing languages will be a plus.

UCR is a world-class research university with an exceptionally diverse undergraduate student body. Its mission is explicitly linked to providing routes to educational success for underrepresented and first-generation college students. A commitment to this mission is a preferred qualification.

How to Apply/Contact: The position could commence as early as November 1st, 2020 but no later than January 15th, 2021. Screening will start on September 21th and will continue until the position is filled. Salary will be competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience. Candidates should apply directly to Dr. Patricia Manosalva via email by submitting a single PDF file containing: cover letter and curriculum vitae
(CV) indicating how you meet the minimum qualifications and listing the contact information of three references to patricia.manosalva@ucr.edu. The subject of the email should be “Postdoctoral Scholar in Phytophthora cinnamomi”.

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Switchgrass Microbiome Post-Doc

Switchgrass is a cellulosic bioenergy crop that is being tested for performance on non-arable (marginal) lands. We seek an excellent Postdoc to conduct microbiome research to understand the drivers and consequences of switchgrass rhizosphere communities, and to coordinate plant, fungal, and bacteria-based team research activities across labs. The position will be located on the Michigan State University (MSU) main campus (East Lansing), but will frequently travel to execute collaborative projects at MSU’s Kellogg Biological Station (Hickory Corners) and present GLBRC microbiome results at meetings.

Check the following link for information on requirements, application instructions and more https://careers.msu.edu/en-us/job/503845/research-associatefixed-term.

Diversity Advancement Graduate Assistantship

BPP Diversity Advancement Graduate Assistantship 

Oregon State University – Department of Botany and Plant Pathology

“The Department of Botany and Plant Pathology (BPP) is pleased to invite applicants for the BPP Diversity Advancement Graduate Assistantship. BPP provides funding for a graduate assistantship to increase the ethnic and cultural diversity in plant sciences, to promote diversification of the academic environment in BPP and OSU, and to prepare students for their future careers in academics and industry. This assistantship is intended to create opportunities that enhance the inclusion of graduate students from nontraditional backgrounds who have expressed interests in a career in the plant sciences.”

Check information about qualifications, assistantship details, application requirements and deadlines at https://bpp.oregonstate.edu/bpp/botany-plant-pathology-diversity-advancement-graduate-assistantship.

For more information contact the BPP Graduate Studies Committee at 541-737-5362 or Bruce McCone at mccuneb@science.oregonstate.edu.

Grad Student at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville

Dr. Stephanie Kivlin

University of Tennessee-Knoxville

Dr. Kivlin is an Assistant Professor and a microbial and ecosystem ecologist at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. She is currently recruiting graduate students for Fall 2021. Her current research interests include (1) altitudinal gradients in fungal phytobiomes and resulting consequences on plant fitness and soil carbon storage, (2) the role of fungi and bacteria in above- and belowground ecosystem response to disturbance in the nearby Smoky Mountains, and (3) global patterns of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal distributions and diversity (her website).

Feel free to check her website https://kivlinlab.github.io/# and contact her to discuss about fungi, biogeography and global change before the Dec 1st (deadline to apply for the program).

Grad Student at NC A&T

Dr. Omoanghe Isikhuemhen 

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

Dr. Omoanghe is at a LandGrant University in North Carolina (https://www.ncat.edu/) and is in the College of Agriculture. His background is in mycology, and his research is in the area of applied mycology. He is seeking graduate students for MSc now or PhD students (our PhD program is scheduled to come on in Fall 2021). The area of interest is Mushroom Science and Biotechnology. Specific research areas could be in truffle biology and cultivation; Mushrooms for food and feed; Plant pathology in emerging crops. Assistantship of up to 24k per year is available. The tuition waiver is difficult, but it is available sometimes.

Check out this cool story Made in Greensboro wrote about him and his research at NCAT: https://www.madeingso.com/2019/08/28/omon_isikhuemhen/.

if you are interested, please reach out to Dr. Omoanghe at omon@ncat.edu.

Executive Board 2020-2021 Nominations

Hi everyone!

The current board would like to introduce you to the nominees for the 2020-2021 Student Section Board. Look out for elections soon! 🙂

Chair – Robert Powers (University of Michigan)

Robert Powers.png

I am a PhD candidate at the University of Michigan working in Tim James’ lab. My research is primarily focused on understanding the genetic, epigenetic and gene regulatory mechanisms during mating and heterokaryosis in the mushroom-forming members of the Agaricomycotina. Prior to my PhD studies, I received my Master’s degree from the University of Michigan, also in Tim James’ lab, studying both sexual selection and biogeography in the Coprinellus disseminatus species complexMy passion for mycology bloomed later in life – my undergraduate training was in computer science and ethnomusicology. I worked for ten years in the information technology sector in San Francisco before deciding that my true calling was mycology. I served previously as secretary followed by Vice-Chair of the MSA Student Section, and am transitioning to the Chair position because the Society and the Student Section were instrumental in helping me transition into mycology, and I would like to help bring my enthusiasm and passion for fungi to other students as well. My previous experience on an executive board was as a member of the Tech-Underground technology co-operative, a group that provides technology services to non-profit, community, and arts groups – a co-operative of which I was also a founding member.  

 

Vice Chair – Tania Kurbessoian (University of California, Riverside)

Screen Shot 2019-10-09 at 3.57.50 PM - Tania Kurbessoian.png

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 5 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 now 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 for women in science. For 2019-2020 I was the Communications 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 helps enrich the experience of being an early scientist and helps garner other skills that may not be available as just a student. Currently I am in the Stajich lab, studying the role of melanized fungi in biological crust systems through Microbiology, Computational Biology and Mycological techniques. Follow me on @BlackYeastUnleashed on Instagram and @BYUnleashed on Twitter for updates!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 5 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 now 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 for women in science. For 2019-2020 I was the Communications 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 helps enrich the experience of being an early scientist and helps garner other skills that may not be available as just a student. Currently I am in the Stajich lab, studying the role of melanized fungi in biological crust systems through Microbiology, Computational Biology and Mycological techniques. Follow me on @BlackYeastUnleashed on Instagram and @BYUnleashed on Twitter for updates!

 

Secretary – KC Cifizzari (Washington State University)

Photo on 6-30-20 at 12.02 #3 - KC Cifizzari.jpg

My name is KC and I’m a Master’s student in Biology at Washington State University in Tri-Cities, WA. My current research is looking at mycorrhizal fungal inoculants and the impact on grapevine growth and nutrient uptake. I have been interested in mycorrhizal fungi for several years and have examined them in the majority of my projects to some capacity. I first joined MSA in 2016 but need to update and renew my student membership. I am interested to expand my myco-horizons to learn more about other types of fungi and research that folks are doing in this field. As an undergraduate at Indiana University I served as secretary for an organization called Grad Queers which served to network and organize LGBTQ graduate students on campus. While in that position I handled monies and kept the group’s leger. I look forward to more opportunities to connect with like-minded folks in different parts of the country and would be happy to serve as secretary for the MSA executive board.

 

Webmaster – Maria-Jose Romero-Jimenez (Oregon State University)

image_123986672 - Maria-Jose Romero-Jimenez.JPG

Hi! My name is María-José Romero-Jiménez and I am finishing my Master’s at Western Illinois University. I am currently doing research at Dr. Andrea Porras-Alfaro Fungal Ecology laboratory characterizing Darksidea species and the effect they have on grasses. This Fall I will start a PhD at Oregon State University at Posy Busby’s lab. I have attended several MSA meetings and always enjoyed the great environment. For the past year I have been the webmaster for the Student Section and liked it! I would like to support and bring more to the society through the webmaster position of the Student Section Website. At WIU I am the vice-president of the Biology Graduate Student Association and we participate in several outreach activities like Biology Day, Discover Western and Girl Scout STEM. If we are aware of a conference, we send emails with deadlines for registrations and abstract submission. I also was a co-chair for the Midwest Ecology and Evolution Conference this year. As a member of the Fungal Ecology Lab, I co-coordinated the botany section of Harry Potter Summer Camp and helped in other outreach activities. One of the things I like is sharing with everyone our work and the outreach activities we do either on the Facebook page of the lab.

 

Merch Chair – Samantha Lynn Harrow (University of Wisconsin – Madison)

me and my poster - Lynn Harrow.jpg

Lynn is a Ph.D. candidate in the Pringle lab in the Department of Botany at UW-Madison and has a background in synthetic organic chemistry, natural products chemistry, and plant ecology. Her primary interests are centered on the biochemistry and ecology of plant and fungal secondary compounds. Her current research focuses on the population genomics and biosynthetic pathway of toxins in Amanita phalloides. She is using bioinformatics, genomics, and heterologous expression to understand the genetic underpinnings of this system as well as the intraspecific variation of individuals across North America and Europe.

 

Communication Chair – Gillian Bergmann (University of California, Davis)

68678222_2283928735037804_4319979540559429632_n - Gillian Elene Bergmann.jpg

Gillian is currently working as a lab technician at Oregon State University, and will be starting as a Ph.D. student in the UC Davis Ecology program this fall to study seed mycobiome assembly. During her bachelor’s degree at Oregon State, Gillian was the OSU Cycling Club media coordinator and the OSU Mycology Club webmaster for several years. In these positions, Gillian shared club updates on their respective websites and social media platforms, acted as club photographer, and worked with club members to gather event photos for dissemination online. She also redesigned the website for the OSU Cycling Club, and set up the OSU Mycology Club website as it’s first media officer. As a lab technician, she assisted in revitalizing the OSU Mycology Club, and is working with Dr. Jessie Uehling to establish social media accounts for the Oregon Mycoflora Project. She also uses her personal website to share her research and experiences as an early career scientist. When she participated in the MSA meeting last year, she was struck by how welcoming and supportive everyone in the student section was. Gillian would like to contribute to supportive community through serving as the communication chair. 

 

Treasurer – Soleil Young (University of Wisconsin – Madison)

IMG_4220 - Savannah G.JPG

I am currently a second-year graduate student in the Currie lab at UW-Madison, where I study the evolution of the fungal cultivar of leaf-cutting ants. I am particularly interested in how mutualisms shape the dynamics of sexual reproduction in microbial eukaryotes, and the active role that fungal mutualists play in establishment and maintenance of symbioses. The fungi have agency too! I am running for treasurer because I want to get more involved in the MSA student section and contribute to a society that has been welcoming and informative. I did my undergraduate work on bacteria, and only recently transitioned to studying fungi, but many members of MSA have mentored me during this transition. Although I have never served as a treasurer, during my undergraduate at Syracuse University, I was the managing editor of my school’s LGBTQ magazine, The OutCrowd, for three years. I am also currently working on a zine highlighting both historical women in science who have been largely overlooked or had their accomplishments stolen by male counterparts, and current women scientists involved in science communication. 

 

Postdoctoral Representative – Arthur Grupe (University of Colorado, Boulder)

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Hello! I am Arthur Grupe, a Post-Doctoral Scholar at University of Colorado Boulder with Dr. Alisha Quandt. I study host jumping in entomopathogenic fungi. Prior to this, I studied the ecology and systematics of the pecan truffle (Tuber lyonii) and related species in commercial pecan orchards in Georgia. This work at the University of Florida (UF) with Dr. Matthew Smith led to my PhD. Before that I studied diversity and evolution of tooth fungi (Sarcodon species) from Central and South America at Humboldt State University with Dr. Terry Henkel for my Master’s thesis. My leadership experience includes being president of the local mycology club, Florida Academic Lichen and Fungal Enthusiasts League (F.A.L.A.F.E.L.) at UF and regular contributions to citizen scientist projects such as the Mycoflora project and macrofungal identification special interest groups on social media. My mentoring experience includes training undergraduate and high school researchers, and receiving excellent mentorship at multiple career phases. My goals for being the post doc representative on the MSA Student Section would be to organize workshops/discussions on: 1) Being a competitive candidate for permanent jobs in academia or industry; 2) Post Doc Life: how to manage? 3) mental health resources and strategies (we all know this is a weird spot in our career); 4) diversity and inclusion in academia; 5) successful techniques for teaching/creating undergrad/grad classes that utilize an inclusive pedagogy; 6) your idea! Thank you for your time and consideration.

2019-2020 Elections

Learn more about who is running and vote for new members here

 

Chair:

Rebecca Shay

PhD Candidate, Michigan State University

Rebecca Shay

Hello! My name is Rebecca Shay, and I’m a grad student at Michigan State University. I work in the Trail lab on Fusarium graminearum-host interactions, specifically the defense response to F. graminearum in barley trichomes. This will be my third year on the MSA Student Section board, moving from Communication Chair to Vice-Chair, and then to Chair. I look forward to helping keep the Student Section active in the society and doing many things that benefit our members and the greater science community. I love the opportunities the Student Section provides for graduate students and postdocs to get involved in the mycology community. Outside of MSA, I’m an Outreach Committee co-chair for the Mid-Michigan chapter of Graduate Women in Science, and helping to plan the GWIS National Conference this next year, as well as being on the planning committee of the A.H. Smith Lake States Mycological Foray. I look forward to serving the Student Section this upcoming year!

 

Vice Chair:

Robert Powers

PhD Candidate, University of Michigan

Robert Powers

I am a PhD candidate at the University of Michigan working in Tim James’ lab. My research is primarily focused on understanding the genetic, epigenetic and gene regulatory mechanisms during mating and heterokaryosis in the mushroom-forming members of the Agaricomycotina. Prior to my PhD studies, I received my Master’s degree from the University of Michigan, also in Tim James’ lab, studying both sexual selection and biogeography in the Coprinellus disseminatus species complex.  My passion for mycology bloomed later in life – my undergraduate training was in computer science and ethnomusicology. I worked for ten years in the information technology sector in San Francisco before deciding that my true calling was mycology. I served the last year as secretary of the MSA Student Section, and am running for Vice-Chair because the Society and the Student Section were instrumental in helping me transition into mycology, and I would like to help bring my enthusiasm and passion for fungi to other students as well. My previous experience on an executive board was as a member of the Tech-Underground technology co-operative, a group that provides technology services to non-profit, community, and arts groups – a co-operative of which I was also a founding member.  

 

Secretary:

Sara Getson

Master’s student, Michigan State University

Sara Getson

My name is Sara Getson and I am currently a master’s student at Michigan State University in plant pathology. Growing up in an Eastern European household, I went out hunting mushrooms with my dad ever since I was a kid. Then, in college, my love for mushrooms really blossomed as I minored in plant pathology and mushroom science and technology at Penn State and worked on research projects under five different professors there. Now in my graduate work, I have the privilege of continuing my mycology work as I focus on the identification of Fusarium species in asparagus, ginseng, and celery through genetic and morphological characteristics. Along with my research, I have had the opportunity to help with, lead, and present at many mycologically oriented activities and workshops at Penn State, Michigan State, and in the wider communities. Some include lecturing for the Midwest Mycology Information (MAMI) mushroom expert certification workshop for the state of Michigan, running hands-on mushroom identification activities for a Girl Scout troop in Pennsylvania, as well as the Graduate Women in Science ‘Girls in Math and Science day’.

Previously, at Penn State, I served as secretary for both the Blooms and Shrooms plant pathology club and for the ballroom dance club, as well as the webmaster for the campus Newman club. Because of these opportunities, I have gained valuable experience in and understanding of this type of position and given my passion for fungi, I would be honored at the opportunity to serve as the MSA student section secretary for the 2019-2020 year.

 

Post-doctoral Representative:

Lotus Lofgren

PhD/postdoc, University of Minnesota

Lotus Lofgren

I’m a finishing PhD student (Defending May 15th) in University of Minnesota’s Dep. of Plant and Microbial Biology, working with Dr. Peter Kennedy on mechanistic fungal ecology, genomics and bioinformatics. I’m a founding member of Fungal Garden, a living laboratory, gourmet mushroom farm and outreach initiative, housed on the U of MNs St. Paul campus since 2011. I just stepped down from the leadership board of Mycology Club at the University of Minnesota, where I have served since 2014 as secretary (1 year), outreach coordinator (1 year) vice president (2 years), and president (1 year). The club hosts numerous science outreach events, as well as public forays, mushroom ID classes and cultivation workshops, hosts speakers and organizes a mycology journal club. I’m interested in serving as a post-doctoral representative on the MSA student board to help as needed, gain experience on national leadership panels, and advocate for the inclusion of issues and perspectives relevant to post doctoral scholars.

 

Merchandise Chair:

Savannah Gentry

Phd, University of Wisconsin

Savannah Gentry

Hi, I’m Savannah Gentry and currently in the Botany PhD program at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. A part of the Pringle Lab, I work on fungal pathogen-host interactions and pathogen ecology, namely with Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola and Nannizziopsis guarroi responsible for snake fungal disease and yellow fungal disease, respectively. Outside of research I co-founded and am currently co-president of a graduate support organization for underrepresented graduate students in STEM named Community. Our goal in Community is to provide resources i.e. financial, professional, and cultural, for graduate students of the university. I’m currently the Merchandise Chair for the MSA student section board and have enjoyed working with fellow board members, MSA executive board members, and the MSA community to share in the wonderfulness that is fungi. This will be my second year and I hope to remain the Merchandise Chair, coming in with even more effectiveness and know-how than before, to help the Student Section grow.

 

Webmaster:

 

  • Chance Noffsinger

 

Graduate Student, Montana State University

Chance Noffsinger

Hello, my name is Chance Noffsinger, and I’m a Master’s student at Montana State University working under Dr. Cathy Cripps. My research focuses on understanding the diversity and distribution of Russula in the Rocky Mountain Alpine zone. I’m running for the Executive board of the MSA student section because I want to build a career focused on mycological research and education and the Mycological Society of America has been an integral part of my growth as a scientist. I want to continue to provide other students with the inspiration and resources that the MSA students section continues to provide me. Specifically, I’m running for Communication Chair because I believe scientific communication and outreach are crucial to the future of science, especially now when the public’s mistrust of science is uncomfortably high. I would be responsible for managing the social media accounts of the MSA student section and I believe that social media plays an important role in scientific communication in positive and negative ways. Therefore, if elected, I will make it my duty to communicate positive, useful, and informative information to our mycological community. I would also look forward to contributing articles to Inoculum and featuring our diverse community of students on our website. As an undergraduate, I represented my local honor society on the College of Agriculture student council and was responsible for communicating between the two organizations and advocating for student interests. As a graduate student, I’m involved in teaching and scientific outreach focused on mycology to undergraduate and K-12 students.

 

  • María-José Romero-Jiménez

 

Graduate Student, Western Illinois University

María-José Romero-Jiménez

Hello, my name is María-José Romero-Jiménez and I am a graduate student at Western Illinois University. I do research at Dr. Andrea Porras-Alfaro Fungal Ecology laboratory on the description of Darksidea species and the effect they have on grasses. My first MSA meeting was in 2017. The conference was a beautiful experience where I met new people that were passionate about fungi. Since then, I have been interested in getting a little bit more involved with the mycology community and sharing it with everyone. Because of this I am interested in the Communication Chair position at the Student Section. I think that the position will allow me to meet and work with exciting people I don’t know and learn new things. I believe that it will push me out of my comfort zone and it will allow me to share with many others why fungi and mycologists are awesome. At WIU I am the vice-president of the Biology Graduate Student Association and we participate in several outreach activities like Biology Day, Discover Western and Girl Scout STEM. If we are aware of a conference, we send emails with deadlines for registrations and abstract submission. As a member of the Fungal Ecology Lab, I co-coordinated the botany section of Harry Potter Summer Camp and helped in other outreach activities. One of the things I like is sharing with everyone our work and the outreach activities we do either on the Facebook page of the lab.

 

Treasurer:

 

  • Austin N. Frewert

 

Graduate Student, Washington State University

Austin N. Frewert

My name is Austin Frewert and I am from upstate New York and there are three interests that have always been in my life… fungi, plants and mountain biking!  I am studying soil-microbe interactions in the Cheeke Lab at Washington State University Tri-Cities in Richland, WA. My master’s research is focused on synergistic plant responses to co-amendments of mycorrhizal fungi and biochar when grown in contaminated mine soil. I am also interested in the ecological aspects of mycorrhizal helper bacteria, bacterial and fungal siderophores, and the affect of our changing environment on belowground interactions. I am running for treasurer to contribute to the MSA community and to encourage interest and involvement in mycology. I think it is important to be involved the community, to encourage your peers and support them as they grow. I currently volunteer at my local bicycle repair co-op where I can share what I know as well as learn something new. I am eager to share my passion for mycology by contributing to the community through Inoculum as well as social media outlets, while broadening my volunteer experience. Thank you, I look forward to meeting you at MSA 2019.

 

Communication Chair:

 

  • Tania Kurbessoian

 

Graduate Student, University of California Riverside

Tania Kurbessoian

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 5 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 now President. I was the Social Outreach coordinator at another organization called AWIS (Association for Women in Science), and am now the Co-President. AWIS fosters 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 for women in science. I believe organizations like these and the MSA Student Section only helps enrich the experience of being an early scientist and helps garner other skills that may not be available as just a student. Currently I am in the Stajich lab, studying the role of melanized fungi in biological crust systems through Microbiology, Computational Biology and Mycological techniques. Follow me on @BlackYeastUnleashed on Instagram and @BYUnleashed on Twitter for updates!

 

  • Megan Buland

 

Graduate Student, University of Georgia

Megan Buland

Hi, my name is Megan and I am a graduate student in the Warnell School of Forestry at the University of Georgia, where I study root-feeding beetles and their associated phoretic fungal communities under the direction of Dr. Caterina Villari.  I would be honored to serve as the MSA Student Communication Chair in the upcoming year. I have served as a core officer with Warnell’s graduate student association in the past, as well as serving on committees in association with the American Phytopathological Society.  I am active in social media, including Twitter (you can find me @MeganLou89), and would be prepared to assume such responsibilities as are associated with the Communication Chair position. Additionally, I am a contributing author at the Athens Science Observer where I greatly enjoy writing about the natural world around us, and would greatly appreciate the opportunity to represent the MSA Student Section in Inoculum.  I am passionate about fungi and would value the opportunity to work more closely with the MSA, and specifically the graduate student community, in the upcoming year. I hope you will consider voting for me as your Student Communications Chair and look forward to seeing you all in Minnesota!

 

November and December Student Spotlight

November student spotlight:

img_5308 - heather slinn

Heather Slinn is a PhD candidate at the University of Guelph and originally from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. She is currently working in the labs of Drs. Jonathan Newman and Lee Dyer. Her current project focuses on understanding the natural history of the interactions between plants and their seed dispersers which are critical for terrestrial communities. Seed dispersers can have profound impacts on plant fitness and plant community composition by transporting seeds away from parent plants to maximize offspring success or providing the necessary conditions to trigger germination through scarification. However, it is not known how passage through dispersers’ guts affect seed fungal communities. Ecological filters that alter fungal community assemblages can affect plant fitness by providing chemical defense against antagonists and increasing germination. For instance, chemically mediated mutualistic interactions, where fungi and associated defensive compounds are passed from parent to offspring through the seed coat, have been well documented in temperate systems (e.g., this occurs in cool season grasses). In the tropics, much less is understood about these interactions. Heather’s research seeks to identify changes to the seed fungal community of Piper sancti-felicis (Piperaceae) after passage through bat guts. Piper is the same plant genus that the common spice, black pepper comes from. Her research evaluates the antifungal properties of an important class of secondary metabolites (alkenylphenols). This is extracted from fruit to assess whether is acts as a filter for fungal colonization prior to dispersal.

 

When she finishes her PhD, Heather would like to continue her work as a postdoc investigating fungal mediated interactions in Piper. She is hoping to graduate in 2 years.

 

What is your favorite fungus and why?

 

Cordyceps because it is awesome at infecting the brains of arthropods and manipulating behavior.

 

What is your favorite fact/thing about fungi?

 

Fungi make an extraordinary diversity of secondary metabolites that play all sorts of important ecological functions, but also serve critical roles in pharmacy (e.g. taxol) and other biotechnology. We understand such a small percentage of this diversity, there is huge application potential.

 

Who is your mycology role model?

 

I don’t have a single role model, but there are many women that I admire. Posy Busby at Oregon State, Betsy Arnold at the University of Arizona and Sue Hartley at York University in the UK. I met Sue at ESA a couple of years ago when I was giving a poster presentation on plant-insect interactions. She asked me what I was thinking about doing next, and I told her about my new work on fungi in Piper. Her eyes lit up in excitement and I looked down at her name tag and I got really excited because I hadn’t recognized her.

 

Any great stories from field work?

 

I nearly set La Selva Biological Station on fire once. Faulty drying oven. I’m still not sure who put that fire out. There is no alarm system. I also found a juvenile Terciopelo in my room. They are one of the most venomous vipers in Latin America. I repeated that story to tourists at the station. They looked terrified.

 

What do you like to do in your free time? What are your hobbies?

 

Running, biking, reading, working on my Spanish, joking around as much as possible and drinking wine (Malbec is my favorite).

 

What are you passionate about?

 

I am passionate about promoting and supporting minorities in STEM. If you’d like to follow me for this, my handle is @h_slinn.

 

 

 

 

December student spotlight:

img_1048 - jacob golan

Jacob Golan is a PhD candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, originally from Long Island, NY. He is currently working in the lab of Dr. Anne Pringle, where his research focuses on how fungi move – from across landscapes to across continents. He approaches questions regarding dispersal from a biophysical, genetic, genomic, and ecological perspective in order to better understand fungal biogeography and population dynamics. He is also interested in the intersection of microbial biology and intellectual property rights. During his time as a graduate student, Jacob has received several awards, including the NSF GRFP and the Chateaubriand Fellowship in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics & Biology-Health (STEM). After completing his PhD, Jacob would like to go to law school and eventually work in legal academia on the intersection of microbial biotechnology and intellectual property rights

 

What is your favorite fungus and why?

 

Hemileia vastatrix is one of the coolest! Putative transoceanic dispersal + coffee = amazing!

 

What is your favorite fact/thing about fungi?

 

Supposedly fungi won the American revolution…according to some, the British fleet was overrun by Serpula lacrymans

 

Who is your mycology role model?

 

Tie between Rytas Vilgalys and Anne Pringle

 

Any great stories from field work (funny/interesting/something that stuck out to you)?

 

If editing manuscripts counts as field work, then I enjoyed editing my first chapter with my advisor in the bathroom of a former post-doc’s house. We needed a quiet space and we were down to the last minute.

 

What do you like to do in your free time? What are your hobbies?

 

I really like to read and to learn languages. Russian literature is by far my favorite

 

What are you passionate about?

 

I love working with undergraduates – it’s a great way to get extra help with your research and also to practice your teaching skills