Where did you grow up?


Current research location

University of Utah

Current adviser

Dr. Eddy Cadet

Current project description

Bioaccumulation of trace metals in the fungal genus Morchella. The purpose of this research is to contrast trace metal composition of morel mushrooms to the trace metal composition of the surrounding soil substrate in the canyonlands of Utah where soil geochemical composition can vary based on altitude and geophysical location. We hypothesize that by analyzing the trace metal composition of morel mushrooms and their surrounding soil substrate we can determine if morel mushrooms absorb and concentrate trace metals from their habitat. This is important because these data will determine if there is a health risk for humans and animals who consume morel mushrooms from different locations.

Awards you’d like to brag about

So many! I guess URSCA grant Primary Investigator: Water Variable Effects on Plant Biomass.

What is your favorite fungus?

Morchella, because they are both delicious and mysterious.

What is your favorite fungus fact?

I admire their capacity for adaptation and biosynthesis.

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

I am currently applying to PhD mycology programs at universities in the United states.

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

I could not find morels for years, then a professor of mine gave me a tip and since then I have found thousands and shared that experience with over 100 people by hosting morel mushroom hunt events.

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

I create educational content focused on fungi. Mentor college students in how to use fungi in composting. Host events for organizations like the mushroom society of Utah, the boy scouts of America and teach classes for the UVU community education department. On weekends, I bring professors, students and citizen scientists to the mountains for mycological research.

Who is your mycology role model?

Alan Rockafellar

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

I was working on my botany degree when I started to realize how fundamentally critical fungi are to vascular plants. The more I learned the more fascinated I became. Now fungi are my favorite taxa, I focus now on how plants, fungi and their environmental chemistry interact.

Anything else you’d like to talk about?

I am a scientist, a chef and a photographer. I enjoy documenting my scientific research and culinary creations. To me botany, mycology and environmental chemistry are the same topic. These sciences can be combined to improve the quality of life on earth by transforming soil quality in agricultural and natural habitats.