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Stephen Mondo

Stephen Mondo received his Ph.D. degree in 2013. He conducted his Ph.D. work under guidance of Teresa Pawlowska. His project was devoted to understanding factors that stabilize symbiotic associations in two focal systems: the Glomeromycota-Giomeribacter symbiosis, and the Rhizopus-Burkholderia symbiosis. Over the course of his work, Stephen determined that the Glomeromycota-Giomeribacter symbiosis is at least 400 million years old, yet remains non-essential to host survival. Through investigating patterns of endosymbiont adaptation, he discovered that endosymbiont genome reduction in this system is adaptive rather than degenerative as in other endosymbioses. While characterizing the Rhizopus-Burkholderia endosymbiosis, Stephen found that R. microsporus has been forced into dependence on its bacterial endosymbiont through bacterial control over expression of genes essential for host sexual and asexual reproduction. Currently, Stephen is continuing as a post-doc in the Pawlowska lab, where he is studying vegetative interactions in Mucoromycotina as well as following up on several of his Ph.D. projects. He anticipates to apply for academic positions in the near future.