Councilor in Symbiosis/Pathology Nominee
Rachel Koch is a Research Plant Pathologist in the USDA Agricultural Research Service Foreign Disease-Weed Science Research Unit. She received a BS in Biological Sciences from the University of Notre Dame and then went on to obtain a PhD in Mycology and Plant Pathology from Purdue University under the guidance of Dr. Cathie Aime. After earning her PhD degree, she did postdocs at Purdue University, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the University of Connecticut before joining the ARS. Rachel’s research utilizes field work, lab studies and multiple types of “omics” data to understand the diversity, ecology and evolution of animal and plant-associated fungi. In her current position, her work will focus on understanding the genetic and genomic diversity of exotic fungal plant pathogens, along with the molecular basis for how they interact with their hosts. MSA awards include the NAMA Memorial Fellowship, the Forest/Fungal Ecology Award (as both a graduate student and postdoc) and the Mentor Student Travel Award, as well as awards for best student poster and best student oral presentation. Previous service to MSA includes acting as the Postdoc Representative in the MSA Student Section, a symposium organizer, a judge for student presentations and as a reviewer. She has been a member of MSA since 2012.