Dr. Jessie Uehling

My research interests revolve around understanding how fungal symbioses are initiated, maintained, and evolve over time

I am an assistant professor in Botany and Plant Pathology at Oregon State University. My research group and I are using genomics to understand molecular mechanisms and evolutionary consequences of fungal symbioses.

Currently I am:

A few words about my journey- you can learn more about me and my path into Mycology on my website. As a postdoc at UC San Francisco, I was leveraging population genomics to characterize functional genes in the human fungal pathogen Coccidioides with Drs. Anita Sil and John Taylor at UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco. Before that I studied at Duke University investigating mechanisms for and genomic repercussions of fungal bacterial interactions, with Dr. Rytas Vilgalys. I started my scientific journey studying tropical plant associated fungal diversity at Humboldt State University with Dr. Terry Henkel, particularly focused on Clavulina systematics and evolution.

Dr. Kevin Amses, Postdoctoral Researcher

My name is Kevin Amses and I’ve been a postdoctoral scholar in the Uehling Lab since the summer of 2021. I found my love for fungi (and biology at all) as an undergraduate sociology student exploring the coastal redwood forests of northern California. After switching my major two years into my undergraduate studies, I earned my B.S. from Humboldt State University in Botany with a minor in Organic Chemistry in 2015. I went on to earn my M.S. (2017) and Ph.D. (2021) in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Michigan where I used single cell genomics and genome-scale phylogenetic analyses to study uncultured fungal predators and parasites of insects, small animals, and protozoans. During my time at the University of Michigan I found my passion for using computational approaches to solve problems and exact meaningful information from biological data. These days, I am broadly interested in fungal evolution and using genome-scale data to understand the paths it has taken over near and deep time scales. As a member of the Uehling Lab, I am using computation and an evolutionary perspective to better understand the evolution of intimate obligate symbioses between bacteria and fungi.

You can contact me at amsesk@oregonstate.edu

Kyle Mondron, Phd student

My name is Kyle Mondron, and I’m currently a FRA (Faculty Research Assistant) at Oregon State University, but will be applying as a Ph.D. student for Fall 2021. I graduated with a M.S. in Sustainable Forest Management, where my research involved finding associations between the genetics of a population of hybrid poplars and resistance/susceptibility to infection with Sphaerulina musiva (with a focus on stem canker phenotypes). I’m excited to begin working in the Uehling lab so that I can learn more about fungal-bacterial interactions, including differences in genomic content based upon historic interactions with endobacteria (e.g. genomic reduction), gene expression and regulation, and how these interactions may have affected the evolutionary history of both host and bacteria. I have a lot to learn, but also a lot of patience and energy as well! I enjoy a variety of other topics outside mycology, including: basic computer science, languages, music, and video games.

Please see my website and follow me on my Twitter! @kylemondron.

Michele Wiseman, PHD STUDENT LAB AFFILIATE

My name is Michele Wiseman and I’ve been a PhD student collaborator with the Uehling Lab since June of 2021. My dissertation research involves the investigation of powdery mildew susceptibility genes in hop using genomic tools, biotechnology, and high throughput phenomics (major advisor: Dave Gent).  While my dissertation research is primarily plant health focused, I have had a longtime fascination with fungi, particularly edible, medicinal, and entheogenic species. Alas, when I heard Jessie had a computational project investigating the population distribution, biodiversity, and evolutionary history of Psilocybe species… well, I just couldn’t resist getting involved. In my free time you will most likely find my dog and I in the forest hunting for fungi or in my workshop fiddling with my latest engineering or woodworking project. To learn more about my educational history, publication record, and the assortment of engineering, science, and biotech side projects I have, check out my webpage. For science commentary, fungal facts, manuscript recommendations, etc.,

Follow me on twitter!!

Ray Van Court, Phd Student & Lab Affiliate

I am a PhD candidate in Wood Science and Engineering working with Dr. Gerald Presley and have been collaborating with the Uehling lab since June 2021.  My research has focused on developing sustainable technologies based on fungi. During my MS, I worked on use of fungal pigments as colorants and in opto-electronic applications, such as organic photovoltaics for green energy. For my PhD work I’m studying bioremediation of wood preservative heavy metals by ectomycorrhizal fungi, with some ecology on the side. Following my interest in applied mycology, I joined the Uehling lab’s investigation into the computational evaluations of biodiversity and history of Psilocybe species. When not in the lab I’m in the forest looking for fungi, cooking the fungi I find, or turning pieces of wood attractively decayed by fungi.

Follow me on twitter for fungal and woodworking content!

Brandon Stairs, Masters student

In the fall of 2021 I will begin a M.S. in Botany and Plant Pathology here in the Uehling lab. I plan on doing work with Rhizopus clinical isolates studying the interactions the genus has with its endosymbionts and how the interactions can lead to increased virulence factors. Through this research I will learn more about using genomics, mycology, and evolutionary biology to further my education while also building on my experience so far here in the Uehling lab which has consisted of culturing, preparing fungal tissue for storage, and extracting DNA. Outside of research I enjoy cooking, photography, and playing disc golf with friends.

Follow me on Twitter!! @stairs_brandon

Kimberly Syring, Undergraduate Researcher

My name is Kim Syring, and I am currently in the Bioresource Research program here at Oregon State. Before OSU, I spent three years working as a quality specialist for a brewing laboratory. During my time there I conducted research on brewery microflora, yeast and bacterial spoilage organisms, and the interactions these microorganisms have in packaged beer. While my previous experience working with fungal organisms is limited, my interest in mycology expands beyond fermentation science. I am looking forward to learning more about fungal symbioses within ecosystems, the phylogenomics of these interactions, and all the research being done in the Uehling lab. I plan on continuing to pursue mycological topics as the basis for my master’s thesis. I try to spend most of my free time outside hiking, mountain biking, or rock climbing. If I get stuck indoors, I like to cook and paint.

Kelli Daffron, National Parks lab affiliate


I’m Kelli, currently working as a Pathways Biological Technician at Lewis & Clark National Historical Park (LEWI) and as a project manager for the North Coast Watershed Association (NCWA). My work focuses on promoting native biodiversity and water quality monitoring. I got involved with the Uehling Lab when I discovered that many fungal species of the west coast are divergent from their original descriptions, specifically Fomptopsis, Ganoderma, and Xerocomellus genera which are found in abundance at LEWI. Acting as a representative of the Park, I will be working with the Uehling Lab team to voucher, genetically sequence, and chemically analyze specimens of these genera found within the Park and around Corvallis! I am originally from North Carolina where I received my BA in Psychology and Anthropology from UNC Chapel Hill. My interests shifted to the natural world after spending too much time in big cities like Bangkok and New Orleans. In 2012 I moved to a farm in southern Baja and started learning how to identify, nurture, and use plants. I continued learning/farming up and down the west coast until landing in Astoria in November 2016 where I completed the OSU Extension Master Gardener program, got a job at a plant nursery, and started volunteering at LEWI. When I’m not thinking about plants, fungi, or water I enjoy camping, costuming, playing the banjo, and teaching yoga.

Will Gilmour, Undergraduate researcher

My name is Will Gilmour and I am beginning my journey at the OSU Honors College as aBiology major fall of 2021. When I heard that there was an opportunity to work hands-on in a lab through the Big Data Science REEU program before I even started at university I signed up straight away. Once I was confirmed to have the position, I heard that I was going to be in this lab. Which really excites me because mycology is an area I have so much to learn in and I believe that this experience will help broaden my knowledge in the general field of biology. I have a long way to go but I am super glad that this is what will kick off my university career! Apart from the lab I enjoy making and playing board games as well as playing soccer and video games with my friends and family.

I welcome inquiries from interested persons to join or visit the lab. See below for more information, and contact me if you have any questions.

Graduate students

I am always interested in hearing from prospective graduate students who have a strong interest in the fungal symbioses, and community diversity. Prospective PhD students should have some specific ideas for research, while prospective Masters students do not necessarily need to have specific ideas. In all cases, I expect to work collaboratively with you to develop your graduate research plan. Prospective PhD students should have substantial previous research experience, either as an undergraduate or through a Masters degree. Funding for graduate education can come from three sources—teaching assistantships, research assistantships, and fellowships. I sometimes have funding for graduate students through research assistantships (ask me); otherwise, funding for admitted graduate students is provided through teaching assistantships in the Botany and Plant Pathology Department. In addition, if you have specific ideas for research and a highly competitive academic record, I would be happy to consider helping you apply for outside fellowship funding, such as a Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation (for USA citizens only), a Fulbright Fellowship (for most non-USA citizens), or an NSERC Postgraduate Scholarship (Canadian citizens only). Some additional options for funding and scholarships, and useful information, can be found here and here. Find more information about the Graduate School’s admission policies, deadlines. Note that the Oregon State Botany and Plant department has their own unique admissions requirements and deadlines, available here.

Post-docs and Visiting Scientists

If you are interested in joining the lab as a post-doctoral associate or visiting scientist, I would like to hear from you about potential areas of collaborative research. I may occasionally have funding to support post-docs (ask me). If you have specific research ideas, I will also consider helping you apply for outside funding, including fellowships from the National Science Foundation (for USA citizens only), a Fulbright Fellowship (for non-USA citizens), or an NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship (Canadian citizens only). Other fellowships for specific groups include L’Oreal, (women in science), HHMI Hanna Grey (underrepresented groups including gender, racial, ethnic, and disadvantaged), and Ford Foundation (groups currently under-represented in the American professoriate)

Living in Corvallis

Find more images of Corvallis from above at https://corvallisimages.com/above/

Oregon State University is located in Corvallis OR , ~ 2 hr drive from Portland, and about ~1 hr from the Oregon Coast. Corvallis (population ~57,000) is charming and offers a high quality of life for its residents. Corvallis is highly ranked by livability.com, who says, “Located along the Willamette River, Corvallis (and the rest of Benton County) has a ton of local wineries, distilleries and breweries, plus amazing restaurants serving up fresh, locally sourced foods. This city loves art, too, and has tons of murals, a downtown art walk, an independent movie house, an arts center and several theaters. In addition, Corvallis is home to more than 25 software companies (plus Hewlett-Packard’s 2.3 million-square-foot research campus) and the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute, a collaborative research center doing tons of cool research and commercial development projects. The opportunities here are endless.”

For more info email me at jessie.uehling[at]oregonstate[dot]edu

Lab Alumni

ANTONIA FODOR, UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCHER
JETT GUERRA, UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCHER