PhD Fellowships Plant Pathology at Purdue University

The Department of Botany and Plant Pathology at Purdue has a new PhD training program in Quantitative Plant Pathology (QP3), funded by the USDA and Purdue Research Foundation. QP3 provides funding for students to earn their PhDs in one of 13 plant pathology labs at Purdue: https://ag.purdue.edu/btny/Pages/researchprofiles.aspx. We are searching for talented students who are eager to make a difference through plant pathology.

Plant pathogens cause over $75 billion in crop loss worldwide and threaten to further impact food supply as climate variability and agricultural intensification worsen.  Plant pathologists need skills to analyze big data, develop epidemiological models, or develop models of plant-pathogen interactions on a cellular and molecular scale. The QP3 program will comprehensively train the next generation of plant pathologists in basic studies of molecular plant-microbe interactions as well as applied areas in disease diagnosis, epidemiology and disease management.

First semester students work in three different plant pathology labs to gain experience prior to choosing the laboratory in which to do their PhD. Students can take coursework across a range of plant pathology and quantitative biology courses and participate in a peer-mentoring program. In addition to scientific training, QP3 provides leadership and internship opportunities to prepare students for a variety of scientific careers. With a range of plant pathology faculty and unique imaging and diagnostic resources, Purdue University is uniquely positioned to offer this innovative doctoral training program.

To be eligible, applicants must have:

1.    Undergraduate GPA higher than 3.0

2.    Experience in plant pathology or plant biology (lab, field, academic or industry)

3.    Letter of recommendation from advisor of plant pathology/biology experience

4.    Not previously enrolled in BTNY graduate program at Purdue

The application deadline for QP3 is Dec. 15. Applicants apply to the BPP department through the Purdue Graduate School: https://www.purdue.edu/gradschool/, and list ‘plant pathology’ as their area of interest.

Questions can be directed to Dr. Anjali Iyer-Pascuzzi, asi2@purdue.edu.

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)

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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)

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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 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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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.

Savannah Gentry

Savannah Gentry

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Savannah Gentry grew up in Port Neches (Texas) and Klamath Falls (Oregon). She is currently doing research at Madison, Wisconsin with Anne Pringle.

Tell us about your project!

I work with fungal pathogens of wildlife and have found that two pathogens responsible for infectious diseases in snakes and lizards (snake fungal disease and yellow fungal disease, respectively) can infect other animals. 

Stemming from the results of that experiment, I’m currently interested in creating a project to identify keratinases (specialized enzymes that degrade keratin) and other degradation enzymes that are activated when the fungi interact with different substrate treatments. In short, I want to understand if these suite of activated enzymes could be pathogenicity factors.

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

My career goal would be to land a position that allows me to continue to do work with fungal pathogens and community-based research dealing with access to education and socioeconomic inequity.

What is your favorite fungus and why?

Cat’s Tongue (Pseudohydnum gelatinosum) because of how they feel and they can be candied – a textured and sugar snack wrapped up in one fungus.

What is your favorite fact/thing about fungi?

Two things: 1) how much we don’t know about fungi, even ones that are considered well-studied are constantly revealing new things and 2) their versatility as pathogens, degraders, mutualists, parasites, etc., one fungus can fall into multiple categories at the slightest environmental difference and I find that extraordinary.

Who is your mycology role model?

For me that has never been one person but multiple people whether they are my peers or people that have been in the field for decades, I find speaking with other mycologists inspires me to stay curious about the world. However, if I have to name names, there are few people I’ve met that can identify mushrooms like Alden Dirks can.

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

I’m a big gamer, so in my free time I enjoy both video games and tabletop games. My main hobby is drawing and use that as my main avenue to relieve stress. Check out my instagram @kawaiifungi!

Anything else you’d like to talk about, leave here! (career goals, outreach, science communication, photography, etc).

It’s important that scientists do not separate themselves from the general public or their own communities. In order to stay connected, unite others, and share the wonderful world of mycology, connections are important. So, be active in your community and build those connections; it’s never just about the science.

Alden Dirks

Alden Dirks

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Alden Dirks is from Coatesville, Pennsylvania. He is currently doing research with Dr. Tim James in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Tell us about your project!

Gyromitrin is an acute toxin and potent carcinogen that is found in some mushrooms, particularly false morel mushrooms (Gyromitra spp.). The product of gyromitrin metabolism, monomethylhydrazine, is infamous for also being a component of rocket fuel, which is as bad for you as it sounds like it would be. You’d think this would be a deterrent to the consumption of false morels. However, in Finland, the highly poisonous Gyromitra esculenta is widely harvested and consumed as a delicacy after first being prepared with a laborious parboiling and washing procedure to rid it of the majority of its gyromitrin. In Michigan there is also a culture of consuming certain false morel species, but these appear to be less toxic than the European species. But are they really? Despite its importance as a mycotoxin, we still don’t know which species produce gyromitrin or how much of it. False morels belong to a taxonomic family sister to that of the true morels (Morchella spp.). True morels should always be cooked thoroughly, in part because they are poisonous to many people when eaten raw, and these symptoms are strikingly similar to those caused by gyromitrin (although less severe). Our aim is to first determine which morel species (both true and false) contain gyromitrin, then find the genes responsible for its synthesis, and finally elucidate its evolutionary origin and history of horizontal gene transfer, if any. Along the way, we hope to formulate a set of best foraging practices for mushroom hunters in Michigan so that people can avoid gyromitrin exposure.

Awards you’d like to brag about?

At the end of my senior year at Swarthmore College, the Biology department awarded me the “Leo M. Leva Memorial Prize”, which recognizes undergraduates whose work shows “exceptional promise for future societal impact”. I strive to live up to this recognition!

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

I feel like infinity lies between me and the end of my current position, but at the end of the universe I might teach mycology and conduct research on fungal taxonomy and biodiversity at a small liberal arts or community college; or have a restorative agroforestry operation where I cultivate truffles, grow mushrooms, and raise sheep or goats; or maybe open a restaurant and a fungus-focused storefront.

What is your favorite fungus and why?

One of my favorites is Ganoderma applanatum, the artist’s conk – but not because you can draw on it. Rather, this mushroom is host to forked fungus beetles (Bolitotherus cornutus), which can live on the same shelf for about a decade and have a lifespan of up to 20 years (or so I’ve heard). I once had a pet artist’s conk with pet forked fungus beetles. Unfortunately, there are no blogs or help pages on taking care of forked fungus beetles. Needless to say, they didn’t live up to their long lifespan. But I’m confident next time things will go better and we will grow old together.

What is your favorite fact/thing about fungi?

The longevity and extent of the humongous fungus, the oldest and largest organism on earth, never ceases to amaze me.

Who is your mycology role model?

Barbara Mosse and Charles McIlvaine

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

I collected a hearty bunch of jelly fungus to eat. Of course, mushrooms are best fried, so that’s what I did to this mushroom. I was soon screaming and running out the kitchen dodging hot bits of oily jelly fungus as the chopped up mushroom began exploding out of the pan! Pro tip: don’t fry jelly fungus.

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

I love to dance salsa and bachata!

Anything else you’d like to share?

I have the lifelong goal of eating 1001 species of mushroom (a one-up on Charles McIlvaine). You can read about my discoveries and eats at my website, aldendirks.com. I also have a soft spot for crust fungi, which are ecologically important as saprotrophs and ectomycorrhizae, but are poorly studied. As a side project, I am developing a website called crustfungi.com that I hope to build into the MushroomExpert of crusts.

Gillian Bergmann

Gillian Bergmann

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Gillian Bergmann is from Portland, Oregon. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Oregon State University in the spring of 2019, and now works as a faculty research assistant (lab technician) for Dr. Posy Busby and Dr. Jared LeBoldus in OSU’s Department of Botany and Plant Pathology.

 

Tell us about your project

I am currently working on characterizing the wood mycobiome of black cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa) as part of a study on how the wood microbiome to plant genotype and resistance/susceptibility to the pathogen Sphaerulina musiva. So far, the project has been a great learning experience for me in creating a large metabarcode library for high-throughput sequencing. On the side, I am also characterizing the fungal seed endophytes of Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) using high-throughput sequencing for comparison against the culture-based characterization I did in my undergraduate thesis.
Awards you would like to brag about

This past summer, I received the MSA Undergraduate Research Award for my poster presentation about my undergraduate thesis at the MSA meeting in Minneapolis! It was my first time presenting at a national conference, so I am honored to have received this award.
What are your career goals/plans for after you are done with your current position?

I have applied for Ph.D. programs in Ecology to start in the fall of 2020. I hope that I’ll be able to conduct my graduate research on seed mycobiome assembly, and the potential roles of seed fungi in plant responses to disturbances compounded by climate change (e.g. wildfire, drought). My long-term goal is to be a professor of fungal ecology, so I’m looking forward to this next step in my training.
What is your favorite fungus and why?

My favorite fungus is Pseudohydnum gelatinosum, also known as the cat’s tongue jelly fungus. I like this fungus because it’s a jelly fungus with tooth- shaped hymenophore, and because it’s jiggly and edible. I’ve tried candying them, as suggested by Arora, and would like to try them in honey and cream next!
What is your favorite fact/thing about fungi?

I’m sure a lot of mycologists say this, but one of my favorite facts about fungi is that we’ve only documented a small fraction of the world’s total fungal diversity. This shows that we still have so much to learn about/from fungi, and I’m excited to be a part of it.
Who is your mycology role model?

My three role models are Dr. Posy Busby, Dr. Joey Spatafora, and Dr. Ed Barge. They all mentored me at various stages in my undergraduate thesis research, and they’ve inspired me with their passion for mycological research and for fungi in general.
Any great stories from field work?

This past fall, I helped a graduate student in the Busby Lab with field collections across multiple locations in Oregon and Washington. My favorite moment during these collections was when I stopped for lunch in one of our Oregon sites. I sat down amongst the undergrowth on the hill where we were working, and watched some birds flying between the r trees as the clouds cleared to reveal a beautiful view of the surrounding hills. This peaceful moment reminded me that the goal of ecology is to better understand (and even appreciate) the land and its diverse ecosystems, and cemented my desire to do field work in my own graduate research.
What do you like to do in your free time? What are your hobbies?

I’m an avid cyclist and bike racer, so much of my free time is spent riding my bike. I also enjoy singing with the Jubilate Women’s Choir of Corvallis, baking, reading, hiking, playing board games, and going on mushroom forays or road trips with my boyfriend.
Anything else you would like to share? You can follow me on Instagram at Ingrid_blv426,
where I share my adventures in fungal ecology and cycling. I also have a professional website where I blog about my experiences as an early-career scientist and share research updates. You can check it out at gebergmann.weebly.com.