Devin Leopold is a community ecologist who currently studies the ecological and evolutionary processes that affect the assembly and function of plant-associated microbial communities. His PhD research with Tadashi Fukami at Stanford University focused on fungi associated with the roots of a single ericaceous plant across a 4.1 million year soil chronosequence in the Hawaiian Islands. Using a combination of field surveys and laboratory experiments, he investigated how soil substrate age and shared evolutionary history affect the composition and structure of fungi co-occurring within a root system. As a postdoctoral research in the Busby Lab, Devin will be studying endophyte-pathogen interactions and the role of host genetics as a driver of fungal community assembly in the Populus Trichocarpa leaf microbiome.
Natalie Christian is a community ecologist and USDA NIFA Postdoctoral Fellow (co-advised by Katy Heath, University of Illinois) currently investigating how interactions between aboveground and belowground plant symbionts affect host productivity and pathogen defense. Natalie received her PhD in 2017 from Keith Clay’s lab at Indiana University, where she studied the assembly and function of foliar endophytic fungal communities.
Kyle Gervers is a PhD student working with Posy and Joey Spatafora on fungal symbionts of Pseudotsuga menziesii, Douglas fir. He is using a variety of molecular and analytical approaches to describe genetic and ecological factors that contribute to the maintenance of symbioses and fungal community structure across the range of Douglas fir. Kyle studied the systematics and biogeography of Jatropha as an undergraduate at the University of Texas at Austin.
Sabrina Heitmann is a senior Organismal Biology and Ecology major at Colorado College. She is working to characterize the structure and function of seed endophytes in P. trichocarpa.
Shikhar Hatwal is an OSU Honors College student studying bioresources. For his thesis research he is investigating seed endophyte-pathogen interactions in Pseudotsuga menziesii.
Shawn Brown, Assistant Professor, University of Memphis