IMG_0833I am a mycologist with a passion for developing fungal  applications that benefit humanity. In my research, I use evolutionary genomics to understand how fungal symbioses are established, maintained, and evolve over time. I am a Professor in the Botany and Plant Pathology Department at Oregon State University in Corvallis, OR, USA.

 

I am fascinated by the questions: how do fungi interact with the world, and how can they help us?

Current Projects: 

My research offers insight into how fungi function in symbioses with bacteria, plants, and humans and how fungal genomes evolve as a consequence. My research has been supported by The National Science Foundation, The Department of Energy, NASA, and various Mycological Societies.

Research interests 

1)Fungal microbiome research

We are use evolutionary genomics to study bacterial fungal interactions. Our goal is to understand mechanisms of fungal endosymbiont interactions and the consequences for genome evolution as populations of fungi and endosymbionts together. To answer these questions we use computational genomics, comparative functional genomics, microfluidics, microscopy, and phylogenomics.

2) Pacific NorthWest ectomycorrhizal fungal diversity

We are interested in documenting plant associated ectomycorrhizal fungal  (mushroom) diversity in Pacific NorthWest. This project is aimed at answering the question, what native fungal diversity is present in Oregon’s forests, and how can these fungi be harnessed to improve our collective life quality?

3) Human fungal pathogen evolution 

We are documenting population level genomic diversity in the pathogens Coccidioides (Valley Fever, Onygenales, Ascomycota) and Rhizopus (Black fungus,  Mucorales, Mucoromycota). Our objective is to understand how fungal molecular diversity is distributed across geographic space and how fungal interactions with the environment select for virulence traits in clinical isolates. To evaluate these concepts we use whole genome sequencing, comparative genomics, and Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS).