My lab studies fungal diversity using collections-based research, integrating fieldwork and molecular data to discover and understand the awesome and often weird world of Fungi. We routinely employ DNA barcoding to identify fungi collected from all over the world. More recently, genome sequencing has become standard practice for phylogenetic inference, metagenomic discovery in complex samples, and comparative approaches to elucidate natural product biosynthesis and genome evolution.
- BA, Biology, Macalester College
- PhD, Department of Plant Biology, University of Minnesota
I was born and rasied in Duluth, MN where I was educated at Congdon Elementary, Ordean and Woodland Junior High, and finally East High School, graduating in 1996. I then went on to Macalester College in St. Paul, MN where I pursued a BA in Biology, graduating in 2000 after returning from Austin, TX where I spent my junior year at UT Austin and an internship at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Following college, I spent a year living in the Bronx (Riverdale) and working in a pharmacology laboratory at OSI Pharmaceuticals, Inc in Tarrytown, NY. I returned to Minnesota in 2001 to pursue a PhD with David McLaughlin in the Plant Biology department at the Univesity of Minnesota where I studied the molecular systematics of mushrooms (porcini and clavarioid fungi). Following my graduate in 2007, I spent two years as a postdoc developing methods for DNA barcoding of mushrooms at the Royal Ontario Museum/University of Toronto with Jean-Marc Moncalvo, meanwhile revising a NSF proposal investigating the ecology and evolution of mushroom mimicry in Dracula orchids that I developed as a late-stage graduate student. Thanks to ARRA funding from President Obama, the grant was finally funded in 2009 and I moved to Eugene, OR to work with Bitty Roy at the University of Oregon. After only a year I accepted a job offer as a Senior Researcher in Mycology at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in UK and my family (spouse and then 8-month-old son) relocated to the UK. I became Head of Mycology at Kew in 2012 and then Senior Researcher in Comparative Fungal Biology following an instiutional restructuring in 2014. My daughter was born in 2014 and in 2016 my slightly expanded family and I had the great fortune of relocating to Salt Lake City where I am now Curator of Mycology at the Natural History Museum of Utah and Associate Professor in the Biology Department at the University of Utah. I continue to pursue molecular systematics research on mushrooms and other fungi around the world, combining fieldwork, collections, and modern genomic tools, while maintaining a keen interest in homebrewing and whisky.