Bio


My PhD work is focused on symbiotic interactions between land plants and soil fungi. Specifically, I am interested in the ectomycorrhizal symbiosis, an obligate, intimate mutualism between dominant woody plants in the temperate zones (Pinacea, Fagaceae, Salicaceae, etc.) and soil fungi in the Asco- and Basidiomycota. This relationship, in which plants trade fixed carbon (sugars) to the fungi in exchange for soil resources like nitrogen, has arisen dozens of times independently in the fungal lineages. I am interested in how this interaction functions on a physiological and genetic level, particularly with respect to compatibility between diverse plants and fungi, and how variation in symbiotic function across fungal lineages and environmental conditions contributes to the stability of the interaction over evolutionary time.