Spatafora Lab

Joey Spatafora, PI

Our research is focused on evolutionary biology of fungi with emphases in phylogenetics and comparative genomics across a diversity of taxonomic and ecological systems.  There are currently four main focus areas, all of which seek to use genome-scale data and phylogenetic methodology to address questions in fungal evolutionary biology. 1) The Zygomycetes Genealogy of Life (ZyGoLife) - the Conundrum of Kingdom Fungi seeks to understand numerous questions involving organismal and genomic evolution of fungi hypothesized to represent some of the earliest lineages to colonize land. 2) 1000 Fungal Genomes (1KFG) Project is designed to use genome data from across the Kingdom Fungi to address numerous questions regarding major fungal ecologies and nutritional modes. 3) Evolution of Insect Pathogenic Fungi has been a focus of our lab for more than 20 years.  Much of our recent research seeks to understand patterns and processes that have facilitated host jumps and evolution of novel ecologies. 4) Systematics and Population Biology/Ecology of Ectomycorrhizal Fungi is one of the more active areas of research in mycology. We are using genome scale data to understand patterns between Rhizopogon, a type of truffle, and its host trees. 

Lab website:


Students will learn to process and analyze whole genome sequence data. Tasks may include assembling genome sequences, annotating genome sequences, constructing phylogenies, identifying genes of interest, and/or using genomic data to generate hypotheses on fungal organismal and genomic evolution.  Recent publication that exemplify the types of work the student will do are in Bushley et al. (2013), Quandt et al. (2015, 2018), Mujic et al. (2019) and Chang et al. (2019); these are provided in the Spatafora lab website under publications.


Students will learn fundamental concepts in fungal biology, information flow, and genomics. Students will use genomic data to learn the scientific process. Students will work closely with postdoctoral researchers and graduate students.