In 2012 the Board of Directors of OMS decided to implement a scholarship program for candidates pursuing advanced degrees in mycology. Criteria and processes were developed. In 2013 the first three scholarship awards were made to graduate students in mycology. OMS does not have an endowment to fund. the scholarships. Therefore, the Society allocates funds as available to perpetuate the scholarships while actively soliciting donations to maintain and to grow the program.
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Theodora Borland – The $2500 OMS scholarship for 2023 is awarded to Theodora Borland, a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate at Oregon State University. Teddy’s research is focused on an emerging disease caused by Fusarium sambucinum, the type species of the genus Fusarium. This fungus has a broad host range and diverse ecological roles. In the Pacific Northwest, it is a serious pathogen in the hop industry.
Because there is so little known about the ecology, biology, and management of F. sambucinum and the diseases it causes, Teddy’s research is breaking new ground. Her work will help unravel the complex pathology of F. sambucinum and produce new genomic resources for the Fusarium research community. Findings will translate into better management guidelines for hop producers.
Sophia Kast – The 2023 Judy Roger Scholarship ($2500) is awarded to Sophia Kast from the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Okanagan. Sophia is studying in the lab of Dr. Jason Pithers, of the UBC Biodiversity Research Centre. Her research focuses on examining how ectomycorrhizal fungal communities affect the upward range expansion of alpine tree lines in southern British Columbia.
As climate change chases alpine species to higher elevations, and as most tree line conifer species in North America require ectomycorrhizal fungi to survive, the presence of compatible fungal inoculum (i.e. spores, sclerotia, and hyphae) is a likely prerequisite for successful establishment of seedlings. Sophia’s work is attempting to determine if alpine ectomycorrhizal plants, such as mountain avens (Dryas octopetala) and alpine bistort (Bistorta vivipara), serve as reservoirs of ectomycorrhizal fungi and thus facilitate the upward expansion of alpine trees.
Nathan Stewart is a PhD student at Portland State University studying in the laboratory of Dr. Daniel Ballhorn. Nathan’s research is exploring the interactions between bacteria and mushroom forming fungi. Fungi have been extensively studied as members of other organisms’ microbiomes, but only in recent years have they begun to be examined as hosts of microbiomes in their own right. Nathan will be able to add to our collective knowledge about this interesting topic.
Kyle Gervers is a Ph.D. graduate student studying at Oregon State University. His major professor is Joseph Spatafora in the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology. Kyle’s research is on the mycobiome of Douglas fir with an emphasis on foliar endophytes. His research employs the latest techniques in data collection and analysis to address important issues associated with fungal-plant symbioses in native plant species of the Pacific Northwest.
Kaye Shek is a Ph.D candidate at the Institute of Ecology and Evolution, University of Oregon, studying in Krista McGuire’s lab. Kaye’s dissertation research examines how different management regimes in Oregon vineyards affect the fungal communities associated with grape vines and how those associations affect vineyard health and productivity. This would be particularly valuable information for the vineyard managers in the burgeoning Oregon wine industry.
Sarah Norvell (Judy Roger Memorial Scholarship winner) is a graduate student studying at Humboldt State University. Sarah is conducting a lichen survey in the Horse Mountain Botanical Area in the Six Rivers National Forest, near Arcata in northern California. Very few lichen surveys have been conducted in this region, and a thorough inventory complete with extended voucher specimens will be extremely valuable to the lichenologist community, forest managers, and all those concerned with documenting and preserving biodiversity in the Pacific Northwest.
Dylan Baldassari is a student at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. Dylan’s project involves characterizing the endophytic fungal communities that inhabit whitebark pine needles and their relationship to disease severity at several field sites in Montana. Blister rust is a major forest pathogen and because the pathogen enters the tree through openings (stomata) in the needles, there is good reason to believe that endophytic fungi living within the needle tissue could protect the plant from invasion. Money from OMS will be used to pay for genetic sequencing for Dylan’s work. Dylan presented “Fungi in the Sky: Subalpine Fungal Invaders, Defenders and Reserves” at our November 2021 meeting.
Anne Polyakov. The second annual Judy Roger Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Anne Polyakov from the University of Washington. Anne is working on a project that is examining the effect of salmon carcass nutrients (nitrogen) on mycorrhizal fungal abundance and community composition along a stream in SW Alaska. It is a fascinating and ambitious project. We know very little about how nitrogen availability affects ectomycorrhizal fungal communities, and Anne’s research will help fill in some of the many blank spaces in our collective knowledge. The $1,500 that OMS is providing will be used to do DNA sequencing on specimens that Anne collects. Anne presented “Fungi, fish, and forests” at our April 2022 meeting.
Ray Van Court is a former OMS member whose research was directly inspired by one of the speakers at an OMS general meeting. That meeting featured Dr. Seri Robinson from OSU who is an expert on spalted wood from fungal wood rotters. These fungi create spectacular colors and patterns in wood and have been used by Dr. Robinson to create amazing artistic wood creations. Ray was totally captivated by the presentation and as a result contacted Dr. Robinson and became a student in her lab. Ray will be conducting a survey to better understand the presence of pigment-spalting fungi in the Pacific Northwest, and isolate new cultures for research. We are so happy to be able to help an OMS member with their research. Ray presented “Impact of pigment from Chlorociboria spp. on wood decay communities” at our November 2022 meeting.
Michael Bradshaw – Michael is a Ph.D candidate at the University of Washington and is studying powdery mildew. As anyone who has ever grown a garden knows, powdery mildew is plant generalist and causes a lot of damage to a wide range of plants. The environmental conditions in the Pacific Northwest are ideal for this pathogen. Unfortunately research on powdery mildew is lacking and thus Michael’s research is quite timely and should lead to significant progress in efforts to mitigate the effects of this fungus. He presented “Powdery Mildews of the Pacific Northwest: Common, Yet Understudied” at the OMS April 2020 General Meeting.
Carolyn Delevich – Carolyn is the first recipient of our Judy Roger Memorial Scholarship. Carolyn is a Masters student at Humboldt State University and is studying how/if mycorrhizal associations facilitate seedling establishment and pathogen resistance in tropical rainforest trees. She presented “Ectomycorrhizal Fungal Community Assembly on Seedlings of a Neotropical Monodominant Tree” at the OMS June 2020 Meeting.
Dylan Enright – Dylan attends UC Riverside and is in the Department of Microbiology and Plant Pathology. Using DNA sequencing, his research is exploring the effects of fire on fungal diversity and his work is greatly expanding our knowledge about the fungal response in forest ecosystems. Dylan presented “Wildfire and Fungi” at the OMS April 2021 General Meeting.
Stuart Ian Graham – Stuart is a PhD candidate at the University of Washington studying how mycorrhizal relationships are impacted by climate change.
Edward G. Barge – Edward is a PhD candidate at Oregon State University. His work is adding to our knowledge about foliar endophytes in Black Cottonwood trees in the PNW.
Carolina Páez – Carolina is a Ph.D candidate studying in the lab of Dr. Joseph Spatafora at OSU, and her research focuses on the systematics and evolutionary biology of Rhizopogon in the sky islands of the Southwestern US and Northern Mexico. Specifically, Carolina is studying how Rhizopogon has migrated with its hosts and how isolation and environment is shaping its evolutionary trajectory. Carolina presented “Diversity of Rhizopogon truffles in the Sky Islands” at our April 2019 meeting.
Richard Tehan – Richard is a third year Ph.D candidate at OSU. Richard is conducting research in the natural products chemistry laboratory that aims to link fungal natural product compounds to the genes responsible for their biosynthesis. Fungi contain a wealth of chemical compounds that have a tremendous potential as medicines and Richard’s work is helping to expose some of that potential. Richard presented “Mushrooms and molecules: The fascinating chemistry of fungi” at the OMS November 2018 meeting.
Patrick Bennett – Patrick is studying at OSU with Dr. Jeffery Stone. He is studying the fungus responsible for the foliage disease of Pseudotsuga (Douglas-fir) known as Swiss needle cast. Although it is a somewhat obscure ascomycete fungus, P. gaeumannii is as native to Oregon forests as its host, Douglas-fir. The disease has been of increasing concern to forest landowners in western Oregon since the mid-1980s and is estimated now to affect more than 500,000 acres in western Oregon. Obviously with the increased plantings of Douglas Fir in the region his research will be very important. Patrick was our speaker at our April, 2017 general meeting.
Korena Mafune – Korena is a PhD student at the University of Washington. She is studying under the guidance of Dr. Daniel Vogt. Her project is exploring fungal relationships and biodiversity in canopy and forest floor soils of an old-growth temperate rain forest located in Olympic National Park. Korena had a most excellent presentation at our February 2018 meeting.
Aikiko Carver – $1500 award. Akiko is studying in Tom Bruns’ lab at U.C. Berkeley. She is attempting to address how fungi change fire-damaged soil and, potentially, how they make it habitable for other fungi, plants and animals. Akiko has run into problems extracting RNA from the soil and so her project results have been delayed. We recently heard that the problems have been resolved and the extraction process is in the queue to begin. Akiko presented her research findings at our April 2018 Meeting.
Dabao Lu – $1500 award. Dabao has done some fascinating work on the mating type genetics of the ectomycorrhizal genus Rhizopogon. He studied at OSU in Dr. Joseph Spatafora’s lab. Dabao presented the ongoing results of his work to the Society in a general meeting in 2016.
In 2014 we increased our award amount to $1500
Jade Florence – $1500 award. Jade studied with Dr. Jay Pscheidt at Oregon State University. Her research focused on developing an organic control method for Mummy Berry on blueberries. Mummy Berry is caused by the fungal pathogen Monilinia vaccinii-corymbosi. Because blueberries are such an important crop in the PNW her research is of great local interest. After determining that the organism is inhibited by light, her research focused on the timing and depth of mulch applications as an organic control. Jade made her presentation at the June 2015 OMS general meeting.
Alija Mujic – $1000 award. Alija studied at Oregon State University in the lab of Dr. Joseph Spatafora. His PhD research focused on the systematics and phylogeography of the Rhizopogon–Psuedotsuga (Douglas-fir) symbiosis. Alija has studied this relationship and made significant progress in field research in North America and around the Pacific Rim. Alija presented his findings at an OMS General meeting in April of 2014.
Dan Thomas & Roo Vandegrift – $1000 each. Dan and Roo were each awarded $1000 for their work in Ecuador studying Xylariaceae, the most common endophyte in the tropics. Both studied with Dr. Bitty Roy at the University of Oregon. Dan and Roo made a joint presentation at the June 2014 general meeting. Roo also made a follow-up presentation in 2016 appearing as a newly minted PhD.