2021 MSA Oral and Poster Presentation Awardees

2021 MSA Oral and Poster Presentation Awardees

Undergraduate Poster Presentation Awardee

Hosanna Barrett
Hosanna is a senior studying biology at West Virginia University. She is currently researching fungal biocontrol of an invasive insect in the Kasson lab. In her free time she likes to read, paint with acrylics, and go hiking in the beautiful Appalachian mountains.

Undergraduate Oral Presentation Awardee

Alejandra Barrios
Alejandra Barrios is a Biology undergraduate student at the Faculty of Sciences, National Autonomous University of Mexico, UNAM (Mexico). Her research project at the Biology Institute, UNAM, under the direction of Dr. Patricia Velez, aims to understand the effect of different concentrations of organic forms of carbon and nitrogen in paired
in vitro interactions of fungi from four functional guilds. She participated in 2021 MSA Virtual Meeting, receiving the Best Undergraduate Student Poster award.

Graduate Poster Awardee

Julian Liber

Julian Liber is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Biology at Duke University. Previously, he completed M.Sc. and B.S. degrees at Michigan State University in the Department of Plant Biology in Dr. Greg Bonito’s lab. Julian is broadly interested in plant-microbe interactions, with a focus on how host factors influence microbe-microbe interactions and how this may influence plant health. He has also worked on computational tools with application in microbial ecology. Outside of research, he enjoys reading, cooking, foraging, fiber and wood crafts, fishing, cycling, birding, and hiking.

Graduate Poster Awardee

Blaise Jumbam
Blaise Jumbam is a Graduate Research Assistant in the Aime Lab at Purdue University. In his PhD dissertation, he focuses on fungi with biocontrol potential against cysts nematodes. Blaise believes that understanding the microbial diversity (mycobiome) of these plant pests and exploring their potentials as biocontrol agents is paramount to ensure that agricultural systems remain sustainable. Blaise is originally from the city of Bamenda in Cameroon, a central African country that hosts a good portion of the Congo Basin. Blaise holds a BSc and a MSc both in botany from the University of Buea, Cameroon. Prior to enrollment at Purdue, Blaise worked with non-governmental and government institutions in his home country. Blaise has held various posts of responsibility, the most recent being that of a Research Assistant at the National Herbarium of Yaoundé. Prior to grad school, Blaise had accumulated expertise in Agroforestry best practices, tropical forest botany and mycological surveys.

In his journey in grad school, Blaise has authored one journal article and is co-author of two additional publications. He has won several travel grants, attended, and presented his research in many meetings including the Mycological Society of America conferences. Blaise is passionate about applied mycology, bioinformatics, next generation sequencing and data analytics, skills which he has gained during his graduate study program. Blaise is a husband and father to a baby girl that he decided together with his wife Janet, to name Aime after his graduate advisor, Dr MC Aime. When Blaise is not in the lab, he enjoys playing soccer, listening to music, singing, cooking, or playing a musical instrument like the Ukulele. Regarding career development, Blaise is interested in postdoctoral research that will help him gain more expertise in mycology related fields but also has an open mind in terms of work in general.

Meredith Blackwell Graduate Student Research Prize for Oral Presentation

Lindsey Becker
Lindsey Becker is a PhD student in Marc Cubeta’s lab at North Carolina State University. She is interested in cataloging the wheat seed mycobiome. Specifically, Lindsey wants to understand how the seed mycobiome is influenced by plant host expsoure to abiotic stress. Like many mycologists in training, her friends and family send her many pictures of mushrooms for identification.

John Taylor Graduate Student Research Prize for Oral Presentation

Korena Mafune
Korena Mafune was born and raised just north of Seattle, WA, and has always loved the outdoors. She recently received her PhD from the University of Washington (UW) working closely with Drs. Daniel and Kristiina Vogt. Her PhD research focused on root-associated fungal communities and nutrient dynamics in canopy soils of Acer macrophyllum trees, located in Washington State’s old-growth temperate rainforests. Through this research, she learned so much about plant-fungal interactions, and became fascinated with tripartite interactions among plants, fungi, and bacteria. This budding interest led to many questions, which were funneled into numerous research proposals. Through these efforts she was named a 2021 Washington Research Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, and recently started her postdoctoral research with Dr. Mari Winkler in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UW. Throughout her postdoctoral research, she will be exploring plant-fungal-bacterial interactions and testing the effect of novel biofertilizers on the soil nitrogen cycle and plant nitrogen uptake efficiency. On her free time, she enjoys foraging (especially for chanterelles and matsutakes), cooking, training martial arts, hanging out with her family, and cuddling her dog and two cats.