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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.



Latest publications

New paper out in Evolution on the host range of Microbotryum species on Dianthus. 

New paper at The American Naturalist with Michael Hood's lab on genetic correlations in resistance to endemic and foreign pathogens

Our paper on pollinator sex-preferences and disease transmission was published in Ecology.   Laura Pierce, a former UVA undergrad is a co--author!

Photos from our (almost) normal summer!

Fieldwork in Beltsville, Maryland

We have been working at the University of Maryland Agriculture Experiment Station (MAES) in Beltsville the past two years, studying phenology, fitness, and susceptibility of Silene latifolia at different ages to Anther-smut. 

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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.


Top left: Rayshaun and Yan set up conjugation plates. Top right: Group planting effort, Bottom left:  A Silene latifolia inoculation study.  


University of Maryland

Dept. of Biology

4223 Biology-Psychology Bldg.

College Park, MD 20742

Office 301-405-7684

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