Heath Lab News

New paper accepted tracking the nodule, root, and leaf microbiomes of the symbiosis model Medicago truncatula across three host genotypes grown in native soils! Preprint here!

Two things (or more), living together in close association, and making something special happen that is greater than the sum of its parts. What better topic to bring together an interdisciplinary team working on plants, bees, viruses, bacteria, fungi, and more? We are really excited to launch GEMS: Genomics and Eco-Evolution of Multi-scale Symbiosis – a new NSF Biological Integration Institute with tons of amazing people (here at Illinois, at Indiana U., and U. of Chicago) that I can’t wait to work with. Check out the press release here: https://www.igb.illinois.edu/article/collaborative-team-awarded-125-million-new-nsf-biology-integration-institute

Check out our new website (in the works) here, and the accompanying ad for integrative postdoctoral opportunities here! Students can apply through any relevant graduate program at UIUC, IU, or U Chicago – see the GEMS website or the “join us” page on this site.

Undergraduate researcher Laura Goralka just earned High Distinction in research to put the frosting on her Integrative Biology degree! Laura studied antibiotic resistance variation in natural populations of Rhizobium leguminosarum for her research project. Laura’s next move is graduate school for a master’s program in nursing. Go Laura!

Congrats to James! He will be studying how rhizobia impact plants when they are not in the nodules!

Jennifer Jones, now a postdoc at Michigan State, has two recent papers out from her dissertation on wood composition in the tropics! You can find one on habitat (water/land) differences here and one on the effects of bark on decay here.

Natalie Christian started her lab at the University of Louisville in January! She is missed by all, but luckily we get to keep collaborating on the fungal endophytes (like this one) that infect soybean leaves and how they interact with plant physiology, each other, and bacteria!

Baldemar did some awesome research this summer on interactions between soybean-associated fungi and yeasts! The whole lab showed up to see him present.

Laura Goralka carries a heavy load of dry ice and tubes of frozen nodule tissue, but her reward awaits.

From left: Katy Heath, Alex Riley, Rebecca Batstone, Hanna Lindgren