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.
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.
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.