Past Student Spotlights

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  • Tania Kurbessoian

    Tania Kurbessoian

    Tania Kurbessoian is a PhD student that grew up in Los Angeles, California. She is currently doing her research at the University of California-Riverside with the guidance of her advisor Dr. Jason Stajich. Tell us about your project! Currently I am looking into studying fungi in Desert Biocrusts. Biocrusts (Biological Soil Crusts) are a complex …

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  • Rebecca Shay

    Rebecca Shay

    Rebecca Shay is a PhD student at Michigan State University and is originally from Grand Haven, Michigan. She is currently working in the lab of Dr. Frances Trail. Her primary project focuses on understanding early infection responses of Fusarium graminearum in barley. Specifically, one of her projects looks at a natural defense response in barley …

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  • Chance Noffsinger

    Chance Noffsinger

    Chance Noffsinger is a native of Whitefish, Montana and currently working in the lab of Dr. Cathy Cripps at Montana State University, Bozeman. Chance’s research focuses on assessing the diversity, distribution, and ecology of the genus Russula in the Rocky Mountain alpine zone. Dr. Cathy Cripps and Chance have found over 150 collections of Russula …

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  • Austin Frewert

    Austin Frewert

    Austin Frewert is a native of Otsego County, NY and is currently a MS student at Washington State University, working in the lab of Dr. Tanya Cheeke. His research focuses on investigating the efficacy of mycorrhizal fungi and biochar to restore plant communities on abandoned mine sites. His goal is to determine if co-amending highly …

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  • S. Earl Kang, Jr.

    S. Earl Kang, Jr.

    S. Earl Kang, Jr. is a PhD student at the University of Georgia and is originally from Southern California. He is currently working in the lab of Dr. Michelle Momany. His primary project is understanding conidial germination via transcriptomics based approach. Earl is interested in using the transcript expression profiles to develop diagnostic methods for …

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  • Anat Belasen

    Anat Belasen

    Anat Belasen is a PhD candidate at the University of Michigan, originally from upstate New York. She is currently in Tim James’ lab, where she is researching the effects of forest fragmentation on frog health. Specifically, Anat is examining how frog host genetics change with fragmentation, and whether these genetic changes affect susceptibility to fungal …

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  • Edgar M. Medina Tovar

    Edgar M. Medina Tovar

    Edgar M. Medina Tovar, a native of Bogotá, Colombia, is currently a PhD student in the Department of Biology at Duke University. In Dr. Nicolas E. Buchler’s lab, Edgar studies the zoosporic fungus Spizellomyces, to develop this non-model organism into a genetically tractable system. The zoosporic fungi comprise a group of fungal lineages that have …

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  • Teeratas ‘Tas’ Kijpornyongpan

    Teeratas ‘Tas’ Kijpornyongpan

    Teeratas ‘Tas’ Kijpornyongpan is a PhD student from Bangkok, Thailand, where he completed his undergraduate degree. Tas plans to return to Chulalongkorn University in Thailand, his alma mater, as faculty after he completes his PhD at Purdue University. His primary interests are to explore fungal biodiversity in Thailand, as well as to teach and inspire …

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  • Jorge Ronny Díaz-Valderrama

    Jorge Ronny Díaz-Valderrama

    Jorge Ronny Díaz-Valderrama grew up in the small, but historically important city of Cajamarca, Peru, in the Northern Highlands. He is currently a PhD student at Dr. M. Catherine Aime’s lab at the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Purdue University. Jorge describes his research as a kind of “enemy-friend” relationship between Moniliophthora roreri and …

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  • Andrew Loyd

    Andrew Loyd

    Andrew Loyd is originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and is a PhD candidate at the University of Florida in Gainesville in the labs of Drs. Jason Smith and Brantlee Richter. He is the recipient of a 2017 MSA Clark T. Rogerson Award. Andrew’s research project focuses on the taxonomy, biology and physiology of the laccate …

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