On a general level, I have wide ranging interests in the biological sciences, centered on the biology of both fungi and plants. I examine these organisms experimentally in the laboratory and in the field. While still maintaining a strong laboratory component to my research, I am increasingly turning to bioinformatic techniques to understand functional biology of these organisms.
More specifically, I am interested in the following:
- How plants interact with their symbionts – from spatial scales of the cell to the ecosystem. Focusing on mycorrhizal fungi, and other plant associate organisms, I am interested in how symbionts interact on a cell-to-cell basis. Investigating at a wider scale, I study metagenomics of environmental samples – mainly soil from forests – to investigate species distribution and functional diversity associated with forest trees. I have recently focused on the microbial diversity associated with trees grown for bioenergy purposes.
- How orgamisms react to both abiotic and biotic stresses. I have studied gene expression of key molecular bottlenecks of secondary metabolites and plant hormones, most specifically within the Jasmonic Acid (JA) pathway. I am particularly interested in the role of ectomycorrhizae in stress responses in forest trees.
- How genomes have evolved and what processes shape their architecture. I am currently involved in the assembly and annotation of numerous genome projects. While most of my time is spent working with the model organism Populus, I am involved in research with other economic or model plants (Vitis, Arabidopsis) and forest trees (Castanea, Prunus, Quercus, Pinus, Fagus), as well as numerous hyphal fungi (Laccaria, Lactarius, Russula, Cenococcum, Tuber, Suillus, Rhizopogon, etc.) and yeast-like Basidiomycetes (Rhodotorula, Cryptococcus, etc.).
In an attempt to keep current on research in the biological sciences I have started the blog Cyme & Cystidium, where topics are centered on my love of both fungi and plants, but hopefully broad enough to share my excitement with biology in general.