Councilor in Genetics/Cell Biology Nominee
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 benchmarked a sequencing methodology, provided fundamental information on plant-fungal interactions in canopy soils, and became fascinated with tripartite interactions among plants, fungi, and bacteria. This budding interest led to many questions, which were funneled into research proposals. Through these efforts she was named a 2021 Washington Research Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, and is conducting her postdoctoral research with Dr. Mari Winkler in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UW. During her postdoctoral research, Korena is exploring plant-fungal-bacterial interactions and the molecular mechanisms involved in nitrogen transformation, translocation, and plant uptake. Korena’s research pairs experimental manipulations with ‘omics and chemical and gaseous measurements to better understand how bacterial-fungal interactions can be harnessed for sustainable agricultural practices. In her free time, she enjoys foraging (especially for chanterelles, matsutakes, and morels), cooking, training martial arts, playing ukulele, hanging out with her family, and cuddling her dog and two cats.