University of Minnesota
Fungi are one of the most biochemically diverse kingdoms of life, producing a diverse array of bioactive natural products, many of which have medicinal properties or function in maintaining pathogenesis or symbiosis. Research in my lab focuses on how fungal metabolism shapes the interaction of fungi with plants and other organisms. Using a combination of next generation sequencing technologies, natural products chemistry, molecular genetics, and metabolomics, we examine the evolution, diversity, and functions of fungal secondary metabolites, particularly nonribosomal peptide synthetases (NRPSs) and polyketide synthetases (PKSs). Current research in the lab is focused on fungi that parasitize insects and includes several projects: 1) a population genomic study of fine-scale evolution of secondary metabolites among isolates of the beetle pathogen Tolypocladium inflatum, 2) a comparative genomic and transcriptomic approach to identify genes and regulatory networks that allow fungi in the genera Fusarium and Beauveria to interact with distinct hosts (insects, plants, and other fungi), and 3) the impact of mating biology on the population genetic structure of insect pathogenic fungi.
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