2020 MSA Student Awards

2020 MSA Student Awards

MSA Graduate Fellowships
Yen-Wen (Denny) Wang, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Yen-Wen (Denny) Wang is a fourth year PhD student in Dr. Anne Pringle’s lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is interested in using bioinformatic approaches to study evolutionary biology in Basidiomycetes. He is currently focusing on the mating system in Amanita phalloides. He uses genome assembling graphs to phase the two alleles of mating type genes to understand the biological and evolutionary implications. In addition, he also studies mitochondrial inheritance in Amanita phalloides and the new genes found in ectomycorrhizal Amanita during niche transition.

Shuzo Oita is a PhD candidate working with A. Elizabeth (Betsy) Arnold at the University of Arizona. Shuzo completed his undergraduate studies in agriculture at Hokkaido University in Japan, where he studied chemical signaling relevant to arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. He expanded his focus above-ground when he joined the Arnold lab. His current research focuses on drivers of community assembly of foliar endophytes, with a focus on plant communities from boreal regions to
tropical forests. As part of this work he is developing a new method to visualize endophytes in planta via microscopy, without damaging host plant tissue.

Shuzo Oita, University of Arizona
NAMA Award
Carolina Piña Páez, Oregon State University

Carolina Piña Páez is a PhD candidate in the department of Botany and Plant Pathology at Oregon State University in Dr, Joey Spatafora’s lab.  She received her BS in Biology from the University of Sonora where she worked with gasteroid fungi in the Sonoran Desert. In summer 2009 she was first introduced to truffles, and fell in love with their fascinating ecology and convergent evolution.

Myron P. Backus Award Fund

Kevin Amses

I found my love for fungi as a disillusioned undergraduate sociology student in the coastal redwood forests of northern California where I was drawn to their diverse forms and collective ability to do just about anything in a forest. As a PhD student in Michigan, I have pursued my broad interests in the evolution and genetic bases of these diverse life history strategies through the lens of early-diverging fungi in the Zoopagomycota that trap or parasitize small animals and protozoans. Since many of these fungi cannot be grown in the lab, I have embraced single-cell genomics as an avenue to generating genome-scale data with which to interrogate these unique and cryptic fungi. After the collection and sequencing of single cells from nature, much of my time is spent on the computer analyzing genomes, building trees, and writing code to try and make the first two items easier. In my spare time I like playing video games or camping on public lands when the excessive screen-time gets to me.

Kevin Amses, University of Michigan
Undergraduate Research Award
Lauren Dorsch, University of Washington

Lauren Dorsch is a second year student in the College of Environment at University of Washington and has spent the last two years volunteering for the Hille Ris Lambers Lab in the Biology Department. Her current work focuses on community composition and colonization success of ectomycorrhizal fungi on Abies lasiocarpa in subalpine habitats on Mount Rainier National Park.