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Two PPPMB graduate students recipients of Barbara McClintock Student Award

December 2013 Spotlight

John Gottula

John Gottula and Carly Summers are both recipients of the 2013 Barbara McClintock Graduate Student Award. This is an annual award established by the McClintock family in 1992 to honor outstanding senior graduate students studying in the Plant Sciences (Plant Biology, Plant Pathology & Plant-Microbe Biology, Plant Breeding, Horticulture or Crop and Soil Sciences) at Cornell University. Students are selected based on their academic, research, teaching and outreach achievements as well as on their potential to continue an outstanding career in the Plant Sciences. Please congratulate John and Carly on their award and success.

Gillian Turgeon elected to American Academy of Microbiology

March 2013 Spotlight

Gillian Turgeon
Gillian Turgeon

The American Academy of Microbiology is the honorific leadership group within the American Society for Microbiology, the world's oldest and largest life science organization. The Academy was formed in 1955, and its mission is to recognize scientists for outstanding contributions to microbiology and to provide microbiological expertise in the service of science and the public.

Gillian Turgeon and her students and postdocs have made fundamental advances in our understanding of molecular mechanisms of fungal pathogenicity to plants and the genetic basis and evolutionary history of fungal reproductive strategies, using the Dothideomycete Cochliobolus heterostrophus and close relatives as models.

Gillian Turgeon teaching
Gillian Turgeon, right, coaches graduate student Bradford Condon before his presentation of their work at the 2013 Fungal Genetics Conference at Asilomar, CA. Their work, recently published in PLoS Genetics (Condon et al. 2013), uses bioinformatics and phylogenomics to compare the secondary metabolite potential in the genomes of closely related fungal pathogens of different cereal hosts.

The Turgeon lab pioneered molecular genetic and phylogenetic tools for filamentous fungi and then deployed these to illuminate central areas in fungal biology, such as the roles of secondary metabolites in plant pathogenesis (especially those with host selective toxin activity), reproductive development, iron metabolism and oxidative stress, and niche adaptation. Gillian has also been a pioneer in fungal genomics and is an active member of the international fungal genetics community.  She will be recognized for her recent fellowship at the 113th ASM General Meeting in Denver on May 21, 2013.

A native of Canada, Gillian received her B.Sc. and M.Sc. from Carleton University and her Ph.D. with Dietz Bauer at the C.F. Kettering Research Institute, in Yellow Springs, OH, on early interactions of Bradyrhizobium on soybean. She joined the faculty of the Department of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology in 1996 and has been a Professor since 2005. Gillian's teaching includes PLPA638 "Filamentous fungal genomics and development" and PLPA 2015 "Mushrooms, molds, and molecules," with Teresa Pawlowska.

Maria J. Harrison, a Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI) for Plant Research Scientist and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology, whose research focuses on the relationship between arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi and plants, was also elected to the American Academy of Microbiology in 2013, as recently announced by BTI.

Convergence of Science