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.
Lucas Nebert is a USDA NIFA Postdoctoral Fellow working to identify endophytes that can be used to enhance drought tolerance in dry farmed crops (beans, corn, squash, tomatoes) in the Pacific Northwest. His research is co-advised by Amy Garrett of the OSU Dry Farming Collaborative. Lucas’ PhD research in the Bohannan lab at the University of Oregon focused on characterizing the structure and function of the corn seed microbiome.
Maria-Jose Romero-Jimenez is a PhD student. She is interested in the plasticity of fungi, plant-fungal interactions and their role on agriculture and evolving ecosystems. Maria is from Costa Rica where she studied Biotechnology Engineering at Instituto Tecnologico de Costa Rica for her undergrad. She later studied Biology for her master’s degree at Western Illinois University. Maria’s research at WIU was on the description of a novel fungal dark septate endophyte. She also worked on the characterization of the role and biogeography of species within the Darksidea genus on the Great Plains in the US.
Abbey Neat is a PhD student working with both Andy Jones and Posy Busby. She engaged in research studying agricultural plant pathogens and tropical forest ecosystems as an undergraduate at UC Davis. Through these experiences, she developed an interest in plant-fungal interactions of all types, with a particular interest in mycorrhizal symbioses. Abbey plans to focus her research on understanding the degree to which trees in forest ecosystems rely on their fungal symbionts for growth and survival.
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 Botany and Plant Pathology Master’s student in the Busby lab. Her research focuses on GxE effects on the leaf microbiome of Populus trichocarpa.
Kayla Delventhal is a Botany and Plant Pathology Master’s student working with Ken Frost and Posy Busby. She is broadly interested in sustainable agriculture, the role of plant microbial communities in plant health, and plant disease prevention. Kayla studied Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Connecticut for her undergraduate degree and conducted research on animal behavior. Her research at OSU will be focused on the soil microbiome in the potato system, and more specifically, microbial recruitment in the rhizosphere and its potential impact on disease development.
- Jessie Zimmerman is a post-baccalaureate student broadly interested in plant/fungi symbioses, but particularly in the effects biotic and abiotic stressors have on the microbiome of plants.
- Jacob Buckner is an Honors College student working on the Populus trichocarpa wood microbiome.
- Michael Getz is a post-baccalaureate student majoring in Botany. He earned a BA at New College of Florida.
- Maggie Wagner, Assistant Professor, University of Kansas
- Natalie Christian, Assistant Professor, University of Louisville
- Shawn Brown, Assistant Professor, University of Memphis
- Ed Barge, PhD
- Gillian Bergmann
- Shikhar Hatwal
- Mrinal Thapliyal