David Geiser is a Professor of Mycology in the Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology at Penn State University, and a member of MSA since 1991. He grew up in Orange County, California, and completed a BA in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Northwestern University. After two years teaching high school, he completed a PhD in Genetics at the University of Georgia. There he did first-year rotation projects on Drosophila and cacti, but in Bill Timberlake’s lab he discovered Aspergillus, and after taking Charles Mims’ mycology course, was hooked on fungi. This was reinforced by the outstanding mycological community at UGA, compounded by the mentorship and camaraderie he encountered with other mycologists through MSA. After completing his PhD he did a postdoc with John Taylor at the University of California, and was lucky enough there to be at the forefront of evolutionary studies using multilocus sequence data.
David’s main research focus since then has been on the genus Fusarium, using sequence data and now genomics to investigate species- and population-level diversity, mostly as it relates taxonomy and ecology to diseases and toxins. In addition to teaching an introductory mycology course (Biology of Fungi) for the last 25 years, David is an instructor in the annual international Fusarium Laboratory Workshop which is held around the world. He is a recipient of MSA’s Graduate Fellowship, Martin-Baker Award, the Alexopoulos Prize, and was recognized as an MSA Fellow in 2012. David previously served MSA as Councilor of Systematics and Evolution, as Associate Editor for Mycologia and on its Editorial Advisory Board, as a member and Chair of the Karling Lecture and Research Awards committees, and organized local arrangements for the 2008 MSA meeting at Penn State. He is also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. David considers MSA to be the nexus of his scientific career, and takes great pleasure in seeing his students and postdocs benefit from the many opportunities it provides for them.