IMG_0833I am a mycologist and evolutionary geneticist captivated by understanding how symbioses are established, maintained, and evolve over time. I am an Assistant Professor in the Botany and Plant Pathology Department at Oregon State University.  Our lab website is available at Uehlinglab.com.

My labs’ research offers insight into how fungi function in symbioses with bacteria, plants, and humans and how fungal genomes evolve as a consequence. We are currently using evolutionary genomics to study bacterial fungal interactions. Our goal is to understand mechanisms of fungal endosymbiont interactions,  the consequences of these interactions for genome evolution and how populations of fungi and endosymbionts together. To answer these questions we use computational genomics, comparative functional genomics, microfluidics, microscopy, and phylogenomics.

endobacteria TEM
Transmission electron micrograph of bacteria living inside of fungal cells

We are also studying population diversity of Valley Fever (a disease caused by the fungus Coccidioides). Our objective is to understand how fungal molecular diversity is distributed across geographic space and how fungal interactions with the environment select for virulence in clinical isolates. To evaluate these concepts we use whole genome sequencing, comparative genomics, and Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS). Infections from this deadly human fungal pathogen are rising at troubling rates in the Western United States, including Northern California and Southern Washington, underscoring the importance of elucidating the presence of Coccidioides in similar environments such as Eastern Oregon. 

Known Coccidioides distribution in the United States

Last we are interested in documenting plant associated ectomycorrhizal fungal diversity in Pacific NorthWest. This project is aimed at answering the question, what fungal diversity is present in Oregon’s forests, and how can these fungi be harnessed to improve our collective life quality? To address these issues we are working together with the Lewis and Clark National Historic Park (LEWI) to collect and study mushroom diversity in our National Parks. This project and similar works including the (ECM) fungal diversity in the central Guiana Shield (Guyana) are described on the Plant Fungal Interactions page. 

Forestscapes in LEWI state park, Astoria, OR

My research has been supported by The National Science Foundation, The Department of Energy, NASA, and various local Mycological Societies.