Meet our 2020 faculty mentors

Here are our participating faculty mentors and their areas of research interest. Click their names to see more about their lab and project. Some faculty mentors are not available for the 2020 program (names will be gray). Back to program home.

PI Area of research*


Plant-pathogen interactions; model system; transcriptomics; proteomics; metabolomics; molecular biology
Busby Plant-microbe interactions; model system; agricultural systems; microbial ecology; microbiomes
Chang Plant-microbe interactions; agricultural systems; microbial evolution; microbial ecology; genomics; molecular biology
David Animal-microbe interactions; model systems; animal behavior; mental health; microbial ecology; microbiome; genomics
Deluc Plant stress (environmental and pathogen); genetic engineering; agricultural systems; genomics; molecular biology
Fowler Plant reproduction and development; agricultural systems; plant genetics and breeding; genomics; computer vision
Goyer Improving nutritional value of crops; agricultural systems; plant-pathogen interactions; genomics; transcriptomics
Grunwald Plant-pathogen interactions; agricultural and forest systems; genomics; population genomics
Jaiswal Plant stress (environmental); agricultural systems; model systems; transcriptomics; data curation
LeBoldus Plant-pathogen interactions; forest systems; genomics; molecular biology
Liston Plant evolutionary biology; plant ecology; natural systems; genomics; genetics; population genomics
Megraw Plant gene expression; model systems; transcriptomics; bioinformatics
Mundt Plant-pathogen interactions; agricultural systems; epidemiology; plant molecular breeding; computational modeling
Myrold Soil microbial communities; ecosystems; nitrogen cycling; microbial ecology; microbiomes; genomics
Nackley Pest management, plant propagation, plant nutrition, soil science, ecology, economics, and policy
Naithani Biocuration, data management, FAIR data principles, big data analytics
Sharpton Animal-microbe interactions; model systems; animal health; microbial ecology; microbiomes; genomics
Spatafora Fungal evolutionary biology; fungal ecology; insect-fungal interactions; genomics
Tyler Plant-pathogen interactions; agricultural systems; evolution; genomics; transcriptomics
Vining Plant-microbe interactions; plant molecular breeding; genomics; transcriptomics; molecular biology


*Some groups focus on the host plant while others focus on the microbe.

Epidemiology: the study of the incidence and spread of disease.

Genomics: study of genomes (entire set of genes in an individual).

Metabolomics: study of the metabolites that are produced at a specific time, in a specific location, or in response to a specific signal.

Microbiomes: the study of all the microbial (fungal and/or bacterial) genomes within a community (interacting group of microbes). We use short molecular barcodes called “amplicons” or we use whole genome sequences.

Plant molecular breeding: the use of DNA sequences to accelerate breeding and development of new lines of crops with desirable characteristics.

Population genomics: study of the natural variation in genomes of a population.

Proteomics: study of all proteins that are expressed at a specific time, in a specific location, or in response to a specific signal.

Transcriptomics: study of subset of genes that are expressed as RNA at a specific time, in a specific location, or in response to a specific signal.