We study the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of infectious disease in natural populations. Research in the lab is focused on understanding the impact of infectious disease on host abundance and distribution in natural populations, and how these ecological effects intersect with the evolution of important host and pathogen traits such as transmission and resistance. We use plants and their fungal pathogens as powerful model systems for investigating these questions. We have field sites in Maryland and North-Western Italy.
Bruns lab presents 2 posters and two talks at EEID 2023!
Congratulations to all our graduates: Eirena, Hailey, Rayshaun, and Emma!
Eirena Li, Hailey Papagjika, Dalia Chen and Emma Yockman (above) present their research at undergraduate research day!
Congratulations to Eirena Li and Rayshaun Pettit for successfully defending their honors theses!
We are excited to welcome new graduate students Michelle Launi and Yang Yang to the lab this fall.
Congratulations to Rayshaun Pettit and Emma Yockman for being awarded NSF GRFP grants!!!
Sam Hulse just published a new paper in Journal of Evolutionary Biology. “Specific resistance prevents the evolution of general resistance and facilitates disease emergence.”
Congrats to Yan Perez for winning summer funding from the Dr Devra Kleiman Memorial Graduate Endowment
Dalia Chen wins a UMD honors grant to fund her travel to a meeting this summer!
Congrats to Hailey Papagjika on her new internship with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation
Dalia Chen wins a SEEDS grant fellowship to attend ESA, where she'll be giving a talk on her work on thermal tolerance in anther smut
Brand new paper out in Journal of Evolutionary Biology on the joint evolution of general and specific resistance lead by Sam Hulse.
New paper out in Phil Trans B with the Metcalf lab at Princeton on Climate on climate change in wild plant pathogen interactions.
New paper out in Proc R Soc B with Ben Ashby and Lydia Buckingham on the evolution of age-specific resistance.
Two new papers out in Ecology on the Dianthus work in Italy! This one led by Janis and Caroline Amoroso shows the effect on density on vector transmission (spoiler alert: encounter dilution effect). The other, led by Lawerence Uricchio shows spatial dynamics of our long-term transects in natural populations and provides further evidence that transmission is multi-modal.
New paper our in Journal of Ecology on genetic correlations in resistance at different ages. Very proud of two former undergrads, Indigo Ballister and Liz Troy who contributed to this work.
-- Selected cover story! see our Blog on the paper here!
Where we work
Fieldwork in Beltsville, Maryland
We have been working at the University of Maryland Agriculture Experiment Station (MAES) in Beltsville the past three years, studying phenology, fitness, and susceptibility of Silene latifolia at different ages to Anther-smut.
Clockwise from the right: Giant, flowering Silene in our common garden experiment. Cicadas invade! Seedling transmission experiment, Field-master Ally Kido, Some questionable field help, Dalia Chen documenting flower counts, Alex Peska, Dalia Chen, and Kaela Coil having a break on a rare cool day.
Western Alps, Italy
The Western Italian Alps are home to several anther-smut species (and their hosts).
We made it out to Italy for a brief period in July to check in on a long-term implant experiment with Dianthus pavonius and make collections for our joint project with Michael Hood's lab on Silene vulgaris.
Left: Census of Dianthus pavonius implant experiment near Rifugio Garelli, Parco Naturale del Marguareis. Top right: Diseased Silene latifolia in field near Chiusa di Pesio. Bottom right: Diseased S. vulgaris in same field.
Other places we've been working
You can also find us in the fourth floor of the Biology-Psychology Building or the Research Plant Greenhouses.
Clockwise from top left: Eirena and Rayshaun mug for CMNS photo shoot with inoculated Silene latifolia plants in the greenhouse (check out their pictures on the Biology dept website!). Emma and Eirnea prepare inoculum. Planting party! (with Andrea, Yan, Hailey, and Rayshaun). Yan and Rayshaun get ready to set up conjugation trials.
University of Maryland
Dept. of Biology
4223 Biology-Psychology Bldg.
College Park, MD 20742