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People and Contacts


The Group:

  • Cat Adams at catharineadams[at]fas.harvard.edu

    The general topic that drives my research is the evolutionary ecology of plant-fungal interactions. Prior to grad school, I spent years studying the evolution of why chili peppers make spice, the fungal pathogens that parasitize their seeds, and the Hemipteran insects that act as vectors for these mold pathogens. Now, I am mostly moving on to a bigger, bolder and deadlier fungus: Amanita phalloides, or the Death Cap mushroom. This mushroom is native to Europe but has colonized almost every other continent, undergoing host shifts in the process. I'm interested in a wide variety of potential questions regarding this flighty fungus, such as: What makes Amanita capable of switching hosts? How does the introduction of death cap affect the rhizosphere? In what ways are some ecosystems better protected from fungal invasion? How can we spread awareness of this deadly mushroom, which so closely resembles many edible species?

    http://ScienceIsMetal.com

    Catherine Adams
  • Ethan Addicott at addicott[at]college.harvard.edu

    I'm an Environmental Science and Public Policy concentrator working with Kolea Zimmerman exploring early life history traits of Neurospora crassa. My specific research involves documenting secreted proteins and signaling molecules.

    Ethan Addicott
  • Chris Baker at cbaker@oeb.harvard.edu

    http://www.oeb.harvard.edu/faculty/pierce/people/baker/

    Chris Baker
  • Elizabeth (Za) Barron at ebarron[at]oeb.harvard.edu

    My research, broadly, examines the formation and uses of environmental knowledge for environmental governance and conservation. For my dissertation, this included documenting the emerging field of fungal conservation in the United States and Europe, and its impacts on federal land management and policy. From that research I have an ongoing project on social-ecological systems of morels in the mid-Atlantic states of the USA, which emphasizes the integration of local and scientific knowledge for management and conservation. My current research project, funded through the National Science Foundation, looks at how evolutionary biologists are navigating the relationship between molecular biology research and biodiversity conservation politics, using the discipline of mycology as the case study. I am also a postdoctoral fellow, studying with Sheila Jasanoff, in the Program on Science, Technology & Society at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

    [CVdownload]

    Za Barron
  • Leonora Bittleston at lbittles[at]fas.harvard.edu

    I am interested in the interactions between insects, fungi and plants, and the evolution and maintenance of mutualisms. Fungi and insects attract me as both are vast groups with unique capabilities that comprise a large part of the world’s biodiversity, but are significantly understudied relative to their abundance. Their interactions give insight into unusual life-cycles, evolution of complex traits and chemicals, and the interdependence of living organisms.

    Leonora Bittleston
  • Joerg Fritz at joerg.a.fritz[at]gmail.com

    I'm interested in physical and mathematical models that can help us quantify and understand morphological diversity. How can we relate morphology (phenotype) to the the way species interact with their environment (external constraints) or to the underlying developmental genetics (genotype)? Currently, I'm exploring how the physics of spore dispersal influences the shape of ascomycete fruiting bodies. I'm also part of Michael Brenner's group at SEAS where I work on related (and sometimes completely unrelated) questions.

    Joerg Fritz
  • Jaqueline Hess at jhess[at]fas.harvard.edu

    Coming from a background in phylogenetics and comparative genomics, I am interested in the evolution of complex systems, from the cellular to the community scale, and the processes responsible for their emergence. My main focus of research currently centers on the evolution of ectomycorrhizal (ECM) symbiosis in Amanita mushrooms. Using next-generation sequencing technologies, we are investigating the genomic changes accompanying the transition from a free-living to symbiotic organism with the aim of gaining a better understanding of the evolutionary trajectories leading to ECM symbiosis in particular and mutualistically dependent lifestyles in general.

    Jaqueline Hess
  • Agnese Seminara at agnese.seminara[at]gmail.com

    My research focuses primarily on fungal spore dispersal and bacterial biofilm development. I am particularly interested in individual and collective motility in these biological systems, both from a mechanistic and an evolutionary perspective. I make use of an interdisciplinary approach, combining theoretical modeling of the physical mechanisms that allow motility; numerical simulations of the model equations and simple experiments

    http://people.seas.harvard.edu/~seminara/

    Agnese Seminara
  • Lila Strominger at lbstrom[at]college.harvard.edu

    I study how the northern pitcher plant, Sarracenia purpurea, affects and is affected by two species it hosts: the dominant yeast Candida glaebosa and the mosquito endemic to the pitcher plant, Wyeomyia smithii. I also look at how a parallel yeast species might play a similarly important role in a convergent group of carnivorous pitcher plants, the Southeast Asian Nepenthes.

    Lila Strominger
  • Kolea Zimmerman at kzimmerman[at]fas.harvard.edu

    I am interested in the mechanisms of aging and communication within filamentous fungal networks and how these processes evolved in the fungi.  I am also interested in molecular signaling between genetically similar individuals in fungal communities.

    Kolea Zimmerman


Ejected Spores


Pringle Laboratory, Harvard University, 16 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138 | 617-496-9741