January 2017: Happy new year! Haven’t updated in awhile. We graduated some folk (yay!), Jennifer is spending much of her time in Panama this year, and Matias is furiously writing. Projects are clipping along and we are up to our ears in datasets to analyze and papers in prep. It’s a little crazy-making - mais je ne regrette rien.

October 2016: Mike and Katy visit the prairies and savannas of Texas and Illinois to find the (not very) elusive Chamaecrista fasciculata:

October 2016: Every once in awhile, the PCR works like a dream, even when you haven’t done one in five years!

September 2016: We just graduated our first PhD! Julia Ossler just defended a great thesis on tripartite interactions between Chamaecrista fasciculata, AMF, and rhizobia:

August 2016: Shawn and Jennifer give talks at Mycology on the nutrient and salinity controls on microbial wood decomposers, and Katy and Matias give talks at ESA on the tripartite interactions between legumes, rhizobia, and AMF (Katy) and population genomics of mountain hemlock and western redcedar in the Pacific Northwest (Matias)!

July 2016: Joe and Matias return from a successful trip to the Yukon in search of alder and spruce leaves f or our Alaska project. Great job not getting eaten by bears, fellas:

July 2016: PhD student Julia Ossler accepts a job at Lincoln College, combining her loves of teaching and outreach. Now to defend that cool dissertation on tripartite mutualism!

June 2016: Katy talks about how rhizobia evolve in response to nitrogen addition at Evolution in Austin. In her leisure time, she enjoys smelling the leather through the door at this amazing (expensive, closed) boot shop:

June 2016: Justin Podowski flies the coop for graduate school at University of Chicago, Horace is headed for University of Georgia, and Weixi is off to the University of Michigan. Good luck guys - we are proud of you!

April 2016: Horace Zeng presents his poster on seed dispersal ability in western redcedar for the UIUC undergrad research symposium!

April 2016: Justin Podowski is awarded High Distinction from MCB for his study of plant genetic control of the microbiome! Congrats Justin!

April 2016: Shoham Band is awarded Distinction in SIB for her study of herbivore-AMF-rhizobium interactions! Congratulations Shoham!

April 2016: It’s that time again - planting time! Mike
inspects the baby Medicago.

March 2016: Heath labbies attend MEEC 2016 - Jennifer, Shoham, and Justin give presentations on their projects!

MEEC presentations:

Shoham talking about the complicated life of legumes interacting with rhizobia, AMF, and herbivores:

Justin teaches the audience about the Medicago microbiome:

Bark deserves more cred in the decomposition world, says Jennifer:

February 2016: Christie’s paper on rhizobium population genomics comes out in Proc B!

January 2016: Heath lab research will be making appearances at Plant and Animal Genome, Ecology, and Evolution meetings this year. Can’t wait for summer. Meet you there!

January 2016: Two new papers out soon - one by Shawn Brown on using Fluidigm to interrogate fungal communities, and one by Ben Gordon on rhizobium evolution in response to N addition!

October 2015: Lab photo day. We love xanthophylls and anthocyanins!!

October 2015: Anna Simonsen’s new paper on short-term fertilizer effects on rhizobia associated with Medicago lupulina in Ontario is online at PeerJ here!

September 2015: During a lab cleanup, we uncover these critical field notes from Mike’s travels collecting Medicago and rhizobia in France last year:

August 2015: The synthesis paper arising from our NCEAS working group, Cheating in Mutualism organized by Emily Jones and Maren Friesen, is accepted at Ecology Letters! See the online early version here.

August 2015: Matias gives his first talk at a national meeting, a great presentation at ESA on the history of hemlock in the Pacific Northwest. Go Matias!

(Katy also gives a talk in this great ESA symposium organized by Jen Schweitzer, Rick Lankau, and Jen Lau)

July 2015: Mike, Shawn, and Jennifer give talks on legumes, aquatic fungi, and bark (respectively) at the joint Mycology & Botany meetings in Edmonton Alberta!

June 2015: PhD student Julia Ossler’s first paper is accepted for publication in American Journal of Botany!

April 2015: Last real day of class in Ecological Genetics, talking about the evolution of bacterial antibiotic resistance and soaking up some sun on the quad!

April 2015: Heath lab has our first graduate! Christie Klinger defended her MS with flying colors last thursday! Way to go Christie. All those power poses you’ve been doing paid off.

April 2015: Undergraduate researchers receive summer research support for their exciting projects! Justin Podowski won the  MCB Summer Research Opportunities award for his project on how rhizobium genotypes alter the nodule microbiome and Shoham Band won the A.P. Hays award for her project on multi-player interactions between legumes, herbivores, rhizobia, and AMF! Great job guys!

March 2015: Jen Lau does an interview with her local NPR station and it gets featured on the NSF’s Science360 website!

March 2015: Jen’s post at MSU’s BEACON Researchers at Work blog features embarrassing pictures of us both!

March 2015: Dylan’s new paper in Evolution is featured in Inside Illinois and EarthWeek and was picked up by ScienceDaily and!

December 2014: Just working away to the sweet sounds of the Heath lab accompanist/grad student. You know, because we’re classy like that:

December 2014: Dylan Weese’s paper demonstrating phenotypic differences between control and N-evolved rhizobia from the long-term N-fertilization experiment at KBS is accepted for publication in Evolution! We found that N-fertilized rhizobium strains were less-beneficial mutualists for their clover hosts, and that this is an evolutionary response.

October 2014: Postdoc Shawn Brown joins the lab! Shawn has expertise in microbial metagenomics and will work with Katy, Astrid Ferrer, and Jim Dalling on wood decomposer communities of fungi and bacteria as part of the Dimensions of Biodiversity project.

October 2014: Katy gets to visit University of Minnesota for the 125th Anniversary of Plant Biology. She feels right at home, thanks to these guys and a bunch of awesome new faces too.

June 2014: Tiffin lab past and present re-connecting at Evolution. Katy is proud to call John, Jeremy, and Dave her lab-mates. Represent!

June 2014: Evolution 2014 was great! Katy, Matias, and Ben attended, catching up with old friends and making some new ones. The poster session finds Ben gesticulating wildly about horizontal gene transfer and rhizobium evolution:

May 2014: Julia Ossler and Matias Fernandez both complete their preliminary exams. Huzzah!

April 2014: A provisional PDF is available for Heath and Nuismer’s new paper on connecting functional and statistical conceptions of G x G interactions.

April 2014: The Illinois News Bureau publishes a write up on Amplify the Signal. Check it out!

March 2014: Katy and Scott’s new paper on connecting functional and statistical conceptions of G x G interactions will soon be out in a special issue on G x G in Frontiers in Genetics!

February 2014: Christie organizes a panel discussion on grad school in at the Midwest Ecology and Evolution Conference. Great job Christie, and thanks to all the panelists and students who showed up!

February 2014: New paper on science recent grad course on broader impacts is accepted to BioScience! So excited to see this come out in print!

February 2014: Katy finally joins Twitter @TheBadMutualist. It’s about time... still figuring out all the hashtags and linking it to here, and stuff. First order of business: let’s make#yogadouchery a thing.

November 2013: Julia Ossler organizes a science outreach night in Danville and garners some attention from the local newspaper. Great job organizing and great job everyone who ran activities! Yeah!

October 2013: A perspective piece by Katy and John Stinchcombe is accepted for publication in Evolution! We argue for an evolutionary genetic approach to mutualism evolution and a greater focus on the maintenance of genetic variation.

June 2013: Katy co-leads (with fearless leader Carla Cáceres) a Girls Do Science week-long summer camp with Katie Hicks at the Orpheum Children’s Science Museum. Great time was had by all! Check out the pics here.

April 2013: Grad student Julia Ossler wins a UIUC Chancellor’s fellowship for public engagement, to support her Science Night outreach program! Congrats Julia!

April 2013: Undergraduate Carissa Zielinski earns high distinction for her senior thesis on tripartite interactions between legumes, rhizobia, and mycorrhizal fungi!

March 2013: Graduate Matias Fernandez wins a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship! We celebrate with cinnamon rolls from the Bread Co. on Goodwin, as is customary:

March 2013: Kathryn Solorzano-Lowell and Jennifer Jones will join the Heath-Dalling groups in fall 2013 in the pursuit of aquatic fungi. Congratulations to them both on receiving IGERT fellowships and to Kathryn for winning an IL Distinguished Fellowship!

March 2013: Katy finally signs up for a Google Scholar page!

February 4, 2013: Maren Friesen and Katy’s letter in New Phytologist comes out online!

December 9, 2012: IB496: Amplify the Signal runs outreach activities at special Biodiversity Day 1-5pm at the Orpheum!

November 29, 2012: Start revving your Ecological Genetics engines: IB 405 starts spring 2013!

November 29, 2012: Science Politely, SIB graduate students’ contributions to Champaign-Urbana’s local online magazine Smile Politely, continues to attract top readership. Michelle Duennes’s article is the #1 article last week. Woot!

November 2, 2012: Katy and students (Lisa Powers, Dan Scholes, and Abby Berkey) from outreach course Amplify the Signal are featured on Smile Politely Radio (5:30pm Fridays on WEFT Community Radio, and by podcast)!

October 26, 2012: Online articles from graduate students in our course, “Amplify the Signal”, were introduced today and start going up next week! More updates to come!

September 2012: Amanda Gorton’s manuscript on QTL mapping of symbiosis traits has been accepted to G3!

Go Amanda!

August 2012: Katy and Elizabeth’s graduate course on science communication, “Amplify the Signal”, gets a running start with 21 enthusiastic and impressively-experienced graduate students! We are writing online articles, doing radio spots, and working with the Orpheum on outreach.

August 2012: New MS student Christie Klinger arrives in Champaign-Urbana. She will study rhizobium adaptation to nitrogen fertilization!

August 2012: Collaborative grant with Astrid Ferrer and Jim Dalling is funded by NSF Dimensions of Biodiversity. We will be dodging the crocodiles in Coiba. Not too shabby!

August 2012: Two new papers are available online (though not yet indexed in WoS): “Variation in the nodule transcriptome” and “Coevolutionary constraints”!

June 2012: New paper with Katie McGhee on “Coevolutionary constraints” is accepted to PLoS ONE!

June 2012: Katy and Elizabeth Bagley will collaborate and offer a graduate seminar focused on NSF’s Broader Impacts criterion. Outreach activities promise to be authentic and fun!

March 2012: New paper with John Stinchcombe on “Coevolutionary genetic variation in the nodule transcriptome” is accepted to Molecular Ecology!

December 2012: Collaborative NSF grant on intermontane refugia in the pacific NW, led by Dan Gavin with Solomon Dobrowski and Feng-Sheng Hu, is recommended for funding!