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Michelle Jusino is a Research Biologist at the USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station, Center for Forest Mycology Research based in Madison, Wisconsin. Dr. Jusino’s research group specializes in fungal ecology. Her work focuses on the impacts of fungal invasions, linking fungal diversity to forest health and ecosystem processes, and symbioses between animals and fungi. Dr. Jusino has also co-designed a widely used bioinformatics pipeline (AMPtk), and developed a molecular toolkit that is widely used for DNA-based dietary analysis. Dr. Jusino’s doctoral work here at Virginia Tech, with Dr. Jeff Walters popularized the rapidly growing new field of “ornithomycology”, which is the study of interactions between fungi and birds.

"My talk will be a series of vignettes that highlight work that budded from my time at Virginia Tech. I will show how new molecular techniques can answer the age-old ecological question; How do fungi get around? We will explore the complex relationships that fungi have with birds, bugs, and people who have an increasing interest in growing gourmet “wild” mushrooms at home." 


8:30 - 9:20 a.m.

Coffee, refreshments, and poster setup
Outside Alumni Assembly Hall & Latham Ballroom CDEF

9:25 - 9:30 a.m.

Opening Remarks by Bob Cohen
Alumni Assembly Hall

9:30 - 10:30 a.m.

Keynote Presentation by Michelle Jusino
Alumni Assembly Hall

10:30 - 10:45 a.m.

Coffee Break
Outside Alumni Assembly Hall

10:45 - 12:05 p.m.

Invited Student Oral Presentations
Alumni Assembly Hall

  • Mathew Bloomfield (Cimini Lab)
  • Melissa Burt (Whitehead Lab)
  • Nathaniel Esteves (Scharf Lab)
  • Alex Grimaudo (Langwig Lab)

12:05 - 1:00 p.m.

Latham Ballroom AB

1:05 - 2:25 p.m.

Breakout Oral Presentations Session 1
Alumni Assembly Hall and Duck Pond Room

2:25 - 2:40 p.m.

Coffee Break

2:40 - 4:00 p.m.

Breakout Oral Presentations Session 2
Alumni Assembly Hall and Duck Pond Room

4:00 - 5:45 p.m.

Poster Session and Happy Hour
Latham Ballroom CDEF and Foyer

5:45 - 6:15 p.m.

Award Announcements and Closing Remarks
Latham Ballroom CDEF



Mathew Bloomfield (Cimini) A link between size and phenotype in tetraploid cancer cells

Melissa Burt (Whitehead)

Effects of habitat corridors and edge effects on ant communities through time

Nathaniel Esteves (Scharf)

Novel research directions in motility and phage-host interactions on the molecular level in Enterobacterales

Alex Grimaudo (Langwig)

Variation in microclimate use shapes host infection and disease with a novel fungal pathogen



Safoura Salar (Schubot)

Structural Basis for Bacterial Transmembrane Signaling

Rayne Layton (Stevens)

Impact of Brewing Industry Byproducts Used as Feed Additives on Aquaculture-Raised Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) Under Thermal Stress Conditions

Zachary Baker (Hsu)

Sustained in situ protein production and release in the mammalian gut by an engineered bacteriophage

Rebecca Busch (Vargas-Muñiz)

Deletion of core septin gene aspB in Aspergillus fumigatus results in fungicidal activity of caspofungin

Ayoyinka Okedigba (Capelluto)

Comparative Binding Affinity Analysis of Soybean Meal Bowman-Birk and Kunitz Trypsin Inhibitors in Interactions with Animal Serine Proteases

Shreya Choudhary (Popham)

Characterizing the role of a family of lipoproteins in B. subtilis spores



Sara Teemer (Hawley)

Colder temperatures augment bacterial pathogen persistence on bird feeders

Carla López Lloreda (Hotchkiss)

Influence of surface water-groundwater interactions and hydrologic connectivity on greenhouse gases in headwater wetlands

Sarah Power (Barrett)

Modeling habitat suitability of Antarctic biocrusts using remotely sensed and in-situ data

Emma Bueren (Belden)

Bacteriophage of Honey Bees Across the US

Chris Kailing (Hoyt)

Effects of predation on recovering bat populations



Wilson Farthing (Stevens)

Discovering the Role of Leucine-responsive Regulatory Protein (Lrp) During Corn Xylem Infection

Samir Chethan (Hauf)

How a cyclin may link the cell cycle to cell size

Kari Stanley (Lamouille/Smyth)

Elucidating mechanisms of cardiac gap junction disruption during acute adenoviral myocarditis

Hollyn Franklin (Hsu)

Development of an animal model of phage-depletion from the conventionally-colonized gut microbiome reveals the causal effects of phage on bacterial response to antibiotics

Mark Colin Renton (Johnstone)

Macrophage-smooth muscle cell communication in neointima initiation

Marcel Shams Eddin (Popham)

Characterization of Membrane Associated Proteolytic Cleavages Affecting Spore Germination in Bacillus subtilis and Possible Interacting Regions Between SleB and YpeB



Bailey Howell (Uyeda)

Morphological evolution in lizards: insights from macroevolutionary models

Alex Longcamp (Draghi)

Evolutionary rescue of niche constructors: Niche destruction can promote rescue

Grace O’Malley (Mims)

Acoustic monitoring array and trade-offs in error rate of detection for invasive bullfrogs in Southeastern Arizona

Nic Bone (Uyeda)

Macroevolution of migratory behavior in birds

Camilo Alfonso (Moore)

Do male-male or male-female interactions influence testosterone in the red-capped manakin?

Sam Silknetter (Mims)

Dispersal potential drives population genetic structure in freshwater macroinvertebrates across species and systems





Alfred Agbekudzi (Scharf)

Unravelling new features in tethering adaptation proteins to the C-terminal pentapeptide of Sinorhizobium meliloti chemoreceptors


Foster Agyei (Scharf)

Dipeptide chemotaxis in Sinorhizobium meliloti


Jacob Banta (Melville)

Protein secretion through the cell wall of Gram-positive bacteria using Clostridium perfringens


Gretel Baur (Brown)

Evidence towards a varying relationship between macroinvertebrate community density and habitat size in freshwater stream ecosystems


Udipta Bohara (Li)

Combating Innate Immune Exhaustion with Mycobacterium tuberculosis cell wall derivatives


Matilda Cashman (Watkinson)

Does the fungal microbiome of germinating orchid seeds change in response to habitat disturbance?


Caleb Charpentier (Uyeda)

Simulating the Evolution of 3D Forms for Automated Character Construction


Jonathan Church (Finkielstein)

Secreted Factors from Pancreatic Cancer Promote Circadian Deregulation, Myotube Atrophy, and Cell Migration


Idella Collett (Scharf)

Identification of Ligand Specificity of Bradyrhizobium diazoefficiens Chemoreceptor Bll7062


David Da Silva Barreira (Hsu)

Investigating the role of predation by bacteriophages in the cross-feeding of bacterial communities


Eugenia afi Datsomor (Capelluto)

Design of Disabled-2 peptide as a sulfatide binding probe.


Nisha Dhiman (Scharf)

Methyl-accepting chemotaxis protein McpW in Sinorhizobium meliloti senses nitrogen-containing compounds including amino acids


Maria Erazo (Aylward)

Induction of an Integrated Giant Virus in a Model Green Alga


Josh Fife (Langwig)

How has the relationship between temperature and fungal growth on bats changed since the arrival of white-nose syndrome?


Nathaniel Flynn (Melville)

Holin-dependent secretion of a large clostridial cytotoxin by C. perfringens


Jesse Garrett-Larsen (Hawley)

Songbird host responses to experimental infection are more variable at cold temperatures


Elizabeth Geddes (Hsu)

Identifying Bacteriophages for Targeting Enteric Pathogens in the Mammalian Gut


Joshua Haueis (Lazar)

XMAn v3: An update to the Homo Sapiens Unknown Mutation Analysis database


Abigail Horton (Scharf)

Identification and Characterization of Phage Resistant Mutants of Agrobacterium tumefaciens


Dexter Howard (Carey)

Spatiotemporal changes in dissolved organic matter across a reservoir watershed


Siqi Jia (Finkielstein)

Identifying the molecular mechanisms underlying circadian clock resetting in response to genotoxic stress


Abdeali Jivaji (Aylward)

Helping the cell evolve, using the prisoner's help


Elizaveta Kadukhina (Finkielstein)

Circadian clock disruption alters cell cycle progression


Sangita Karki (Aylward)

The Viral Imprint: Giant Viruses Legacy in Shaping Eukaryotic Evolution


Sukhmanpreet Kaur (Tholl)

Carrot vs Dodder: Exploring a new Defense Mechanism against a Parasitic Plant


Harsimran Kaur (Hsu)

Development of a polysaccharide based biomaterial for improved menstrual health and hygiene


Nicholas Keen (Cimini/Chen)

Population evolution with transitions in a looped chain generates damped oscillation


Evan Littleton (Kojima)

Mutations that alter Arabidopsis flavonoid metabolism affect the circadian clock


Rita Makhlouf (Hsu)

Engineering temperate phages for a genetic-based anti-virulence


Kathleen Mayer (Gray)

In situ degradation of macroplastics: Tracking fragmentation rate and dissolved organic carbon leachate


Lin Miao (Kojima)

Deciphering the transcriptional regulatory mechanism of a rhythmic long non-coding RNA, Per2AS


Caitlin Miller (Draghi)

Range expansion can lead to evolution of persistent generalism


Megan O'Hara (Yang)

Surface Hydrophilicity Promotes Twitching Motility of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter nosocomialis


Sharat Paka (Scharf)

Potential Role of L-Arabinose as Chemoattractant in Sinorhizobium meliloti


Katherine Pérez Rivera (Hotchkiss)

Assessing longitudinal patterns in stream metabolism across a heterogeneous landscape


Kien Phan (Chen)

Modeling Dynamic Regulation of the Nascent mRNA Cleavage and Polyadenylation Mechanism


Zarley Rebholz (Tholl)

Unraveling the lady beetle scent of love: Tracing terpene pheromone biosynthesis from enzymes to evolution


Tiffany Roach (Capelluto)

Ubiquitin or PtdIns(5)P? A Quandary of Ligands in TOM1 Mediated Cargo Trafficking


Kailynn Roberts (Johnstone)

Connexin 43 Expression in Large Artery Endothelial Wound Healing


Pratistha Sakar (Lazar)

Comprehensive Proteomic Profiling of Ovarian Cancer Cells: Insights into Metastatic Potential and Immune Invasion


Tori Shimozono (Yang)

A Novel Live-cell Phage-assisted High Throughput Screen for the Discovery of Type IV Pilus Inhibitors


Meredith Snyder (Barrett)

Analysis of burning effects on Southern Appalachian forest soil bacterial communities


Ghazal Soleymani (Yang)

Anti-virulence against Type IV Pilus: Structure-Activity Relationship studies of Benserazide


Megan Sweet (Cimini)

Oxidative stress induces abnormal centrosome number and structure in colorectal cancer cells


Heather Wander (Carey)

Variability in zooplankton community structure over time and space, with implications for water quality management


Justus Whittington (Lam)

Elucidating host susceptibility to Pseudomonas aeruginosa phospholipase and developing phospholipase inhibitors


Kenneth Young II (Smyth/Lamouille)

Investigating The Role of Connexin43 Alternative Translation in Epithelial-Mesenchymal-Transition


Yunquian Zhang (Lazar)

Deciphering Interactions Between Breast Cancer Cells and the Brain Tumor Microenvironment: A Proteomic Analysis of Secreted Proteins



Kate Malewicz (McGlothlin)


Using Molecular Dynamics to Connect Genotype to Phenotype