MSA Postdocs Discord

Are you a postdoc in the Mycological Society of America? Then, we’d love for you to join our MSA Postdocs Discord community! Follow the link below to join:

How to apply for a job in academia – Panel May 6

How do you apply for jobs in academia? Join our panel of early career academics on Monday, May 6 at 5 pm ET (2 pm PT) as they discuss their experiences with employment after completing their Ph.D.


To attend this meeting, you must register in advance.

Submit questions to the panelists using the registration form or email questions to

MSA SPS Mycoblitz 2024!

Join us April 26-29 during iNaturalist’s City Nature Challenge to find and document wild fungi! This is a fun(gal) and accessible way for you to connect with nature and mycologists across the country. Ultimately, all the data you collect will be pooled and usable for mycological research!

How to participate:

  1. Downoad the iNaturalist app
  2. Join the “MSA SPS Mycoblitz 2024” project
  3. Plan an outing during April 26-29
  4. Add your observations
To join a project, click on the “Projects” tab, then click the search button, type the name of the project, then click “Join” on the project’s page.

That’s all! Your observations will be automatically added to the project and you will be eligible to win one of these prizes of MSA swag:

  • Most observations
  • Greatest number of species

Want more MSA merchandise? Check out our Bonfire store!

SPS March 2024 Newsletter

In this issue:

2 – General Announcements

3 – Women in Science Panel

4 – 2024 SPS Digital Art Contest

5 – Fungal Photo Contest

6 – Student Spotlight: Pedro Santos

8 – Executive Board Nominations

9 – MSA SPS Resources

2024-2025 SPS Executive Board Nominations

It’s time to elect the new MSA SPS Executive Board for the 2024-2025 academic year! Interested in helping us build a vibrant community of student and postdoc mycologists? Then, nominate yourself – or someone else! Nominations are due by May 1, 2024, 11:59 PM PST.

Pedro Santos

Where did you grow up?

Rio de Janeiro Brazil

Where are you currently doing research?

Louisiana State University

Who are you working with?

Vinson Doyle, Jonathan Richards and Sara Thomas-Sharma

Describe your research project.

In my research project, my focus is on delving into the complexities of Cercospora cf. flagellaris, a pivotal player in Cercospora leaf blight (CLB) disease in soybeans. With a host range which extends from agriculture to nonagricultural plants, C. cf. flagellaris challenges conventional notions of host specificity. My investigation comprises two primary objectives: firstly, conducting a comprehensive analysis of the pathogen’s dispersal dynamics and population structure. This involves strategic sampling across soybean producing states and utilizing whole-genome sequencing to unravel genetic diversity and adaptation strategies. Secondly, I aim to explore the genomic signatures of adaptation within C. cf. flagellaris. This includes creating annotated reference genomes from diverse host species to identify candidate genes associated with virulence and pathogenicity. Through this research, I aim to deepen our understanding of the pathogen’s responses, contributing crucial insights for effective disease management in soybean production

What are your career goals after you’re done with your current position?

My career goal is to establish myself as a Professor/Researcher, aspiring not only to make significant scientific contributions but also to play a pivotal role in cultivating the next generation of scientists. I am driven by the passion to foster a learning environment where budding researchers not only ask insightful questions but also gain the expertise to navigate the intricate process of developing those questions into impactful research projects. My vision extends beyond personal accomplishments to encompass the mentorship and guidance of emerging talents, equipping them with the skills and mindset essential for advancing scientific knowledge and making meaningful contributions to their respective fields.

What is something inspiring or useful that you learned from your experiences in mycology?

From my journey in mycology, I’ve gleaned not only knowledge about fungi but also a profound appreciation for the interconnectedness of scientific disciplines. My initiation into mycology marked my foray into the realm of science, serving as a gateway to diverse fields such as bioinformatics and plant breeding. What captivates me is the versatility of fungi, their ability to heal, decompose, cause damage and diseases. Mycology has instilled in me a keen sense of observation, emphasizing the importance of scrutinizing details with precision. This skill, akin to looking through an accurate lens, has proven invaluable in shaping my approach as a scientist, enabling me to delve deeper into various scientific domains with a discerning eye.

SPS February 2024 Newsletter

In this issue:

2 – General Announcements

3 – 2024 SPS Digital Art Contest

4 – Fungal Photo Contest

5 – Postdoc Survey

6 – Student Spotlight: Denise Caldwell

8 – MSA SPS Resources

SPS 2024 Fungal Photo Contest

The Mycological Society of America Student and Postdoc Section (MSA–SPS) is excited to announce our Photo Contest open to ALL members of the MSA–SPS community (students, post-docs, professors, and fungal enthusiasts).  

Goal: The winning photos will be featured on MSA-SPS Newsletter’s front page and social media posts. The goal is to share our passion for the Fungal Kingdom and increase science communication among the MSA–SPS community and the general public. 

Theme: Expanding networks

Submissions: Open from  March 1st to March 31st, 2024. Submit your photos using this Google Form.

Winners will be announced at the end of April 2024

Award: $50 or the equivalent value on MSA merchandise of your choice! The winning photos will additionally be shared with the MSA–SPS community.

Rules and expectations for the competition:

  1. Requirements
  • Open to fungal enthusiasts. It is not required to be a member of MSA
  • The photo must be an original work from the person who submits it and be inspired in mycology. 
  • Photos should not be modified by Photoshop. 
  • Please upload your photo in high-resolution and JPEG format.
  • The recommended dimensions for the photo are 1:1, 4:5 or 16:9.
  • A maximum of 2 photos can be submitted per person.
  1. Method of entry
  • Photos should be submitted here
  • Name the file  using the follow format:  YourName_PhotoTitle_#of photo (1 or 2)
  • Tell us about your photo. Please include a small description during submission, where and when was it taken? Can you identify the fungus or fungi in the picture?
  1. Selection of winners 
  • Two winning photographs will be defined by the MSA-SPS board.
  • The winners will be announced at the end of April 2024

All entries and rights to the photography remain the property of the participant unless a separate written transfer and payment for the original have been negotiated. Still, we have the right to use the image for social media posts and inclusion on the front page of the MSA-SPS newsletter, as stated above. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our communications chair: Diana Vargas at

Denise Caldwell

Where did you grow up?

Monticello, Indiana

Where are you currently doing research?

Purdue University

Who is your advisor?

Dr. Anjali Iyer-Pascuzzi

Tell us about your project!

I have been working on uncovering how Phyllachora maydis colonizes maize leaf tissue.

Which awards would you like to brag about?

The one in which I am the proudest is the Purdue University College of Agriculture Mentoring Award.

What are your career goals/plans for after you’re done with your current position?

I am waiting to see what avenues open up to me once that time gets closer.

What is your favorite fungus and why?

Phyllachora maydis, undoubtedly! While my usual focus is on bacteria, the moment I observed the meticulous arrangement within what I initially perceived as a cluster of dead leaf tissue under the microscope, it left me utterly amazed. Complex reproductive structures unfolded within the lesion, an intriguing manifestation of Phyllachora maydis‘s remarkable adaptability and biological ingenuity.

What is your favorite fact/thing about fungi?

In the remarkable adaptability of fungi lies a valuable lesson for us—a reminder that, just like these organisms, we too should embrace and learn from the art of adaptation.

Who is your mycology role model?

Dr. Catherine Aime

What is something inspiring or useful that you learned from your experiences in mycology?

Despite my outward appearance of chaos, a hidden layer of highly organized structure lies beneath.

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

I like to spend time with my family.

SPS January 2024 Newsletter

In this issue:

2 – General Announcements

3 – Undergrad/Postdoc Membership Scholarship Recipients

4 – 2024 SPS Digital Art Contest

5 – Postdoc Survey

6 – Virtual Writing Workshop

7 – SPS Gift Ideas!

8 – MSA SPS Resources

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