I am interested in exploring unique host-microbe interactions using a variety of wet lab and "big data" analysis methods. I'm currently a Faculty Research Assistant with Dr. Jared LeBoldus, supporting several projects related to the stem canker on Populus species caused by the fungal pathogen Sphaerulina musiva. However, I'm beginning to ask questions about bacterial endosymbionts found within fungal cells.
What lifestyle do they have? What genes might these bacteria have lost or gained after becoming endosymbionts? Why have their hosts tolerated their presence, and how do the two organisms interact on a molecular level?