Dr. Jessie Uehling, Principal investigator (she/her)

My research goal is to understand 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. You can learn more about me and my path into Mycology on my website. Outside of lab I like to trail run/hike, surf, and cook/eat wild foraged fungi together with my family. In short I love fungi and Im thrilled to have the opportunity to lead this team.

Currently I am:

Dr. Paris Salazar-Hamm, Postdoctoral Researcher (She/her)

My name is Paris Salazar-Hamm, and I am a postdoctoral scholar in the Uehling Lab since February 2022. I discovered mycology research as an undergraduate at Western Illinois University (WIU) in the Porras-Alfaro Lab. I received a B.S. in Biology and a B.A. in French at WIU. I continued there for my M.S. degree studying fungal-bacterial interactions of bat microbiota in association to the fungal pathogenPseudogymnoascus destructans causing white-nose syndrome. My interests in human and animal fungal pathogens led me to the Natvig Lab at the University of New Mexico where I received my Ph.D. in Biology studying species of Coccidioides causing Valley Fever. The capstone of my dissertation involved using Illumina next generation sequencing to define the small mammal mycobiome and to detect Coccidioides in a diverse number of hosts in the Southwestern U.S. I am broadly interested in both evolution and ecology of animal-associated fungal pathogens which has led me to Oregon State University. In the Uehling lab I will use computational population genomics of environmental and clinical isolates to explore how endosymbiotic bacteria within Mucoromycota fungi affect the virulence of their hosts. Outside of mycology, I love to weight lift and play roller derby as well as travel.

Follow me on Twitter!

Dr. Kevin Amses, Postdoctoral Researcher (He/his)

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 (He/his)

My name is Kyle Mondron, and I’m currently a first year PhD student at Oregon State University. My research is aimed at understanding molecular mechanisms of mating in the Mucoromycota fungi and how bacterial endosymbionts influence this process. 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 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 (she/they)

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 (they/their)

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 (he/his)

I am a first year M.S. in Botany and Plant Pathology here in the Uehling lab where I study clinical Rhizopus isolates. My studies involve the interactions the genus has with its endosymbionts and how the interactions can lead to increased virulence factors. I am using evolutionary fungal genomics and wet lab molecular techniques to generate data for this project. Outside of research I enjoy cooking, photography, and playing disc golf with friends.

Follow me on Twitter!! @stairs_brandon

Kimberly Syring, Undergraduate Researcher (she/her)

My name is Kim Syring, and I am a senior 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. In the Uehling lab I am analyzing regional Ganoderma populations for molecular and functional diversity and exploring how endosymbionts influence fungal mating. I plan on continuing to pursue mycological topics as the basis during my graduate studies. 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.

Will Gilmour, Undergraduate researcher (He/his)

My name is Will Gilmour and I am a freshman Biology Major in the OSU Honors College. I started in the Uehling lab through the Big Data Science REEU program the summer before started at university. I was using computational biology and transcriptomics to understand how Psilocybe regulates genes in different environments and between tissue types. 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 , (population ~58,000) is charming and offers a high quality of life for its residents. Ranked in the 80th percentile for livability with high scores for amenities, crime, and education.

Residents and trainees enjoy visiting the Farmer’s Market, hiking and enjoying natural landscapes, catching OSU sporting events, and eating at local restaurants. There is a wonderful gym on campus and many independent fitness facilities in Corvallis. The Willamette Valley is home to numerous breweries, cideries, and distilleries, in addition to world class vineyards. Corvallis hosts several spas and behavioral health and wellness programs.

Corvallis loves art, boasting numerous building murals, an independent movie house, art walk events, an arts center and several theaters. Corvallis also hosts several tech companies and home to the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute, a collaborative research center doing tons of cool research and commercial development projects.

For regional adventures, Corvallis is ~ 2 hr drive from Portland, and about ~1 hr from the Oregon Coast and the Cascade mountain towns such as Bend OR.

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

Lab Alumni & Affiliates

Kelli Daffron, Pathways Biological Technician at Lewis & Clark National Historical Park (LEWI) and Uehling Lab Affiliate
ANTONIA FODOR, UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCHER
JETT GUERRA, UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCHER