2006-10: Welcome Ester Gaya, Postdoctoral Research Associate

October 2006 – Welcome, Ester Gaya, Postdoctoral Research Associate

We are excited to welcome Ester Gaya, who is just beginning a post-doctoral position here in the Lutzoni Lab. Ester is currently visiting on a Fulbright fellowship in order to continue work on the systematics and phylogeny of the lichen-forming fungi family Teloschistaceae (Teloschistales, Ascomycota). She is especially interested in the genus Caloplaca, which is considered to be one of the most complex and diversified crustose lichen genera. The delimitation among genera included within the family Teloschistaceae is still highly artificial and in need of revision, especially for the closely related species within Caloplaca, Fulgensia, Teloschistes, and Xanthoria. The main goals of her phylogenetic studies are to resolve relationships among the main lineages of this family and also the order Teloschistales, specifically to provide a more stable classification of these lichen-forming fungi. To reach these goals, she is using an integrated approach based on detailed morphological, anatomical, chemical (secondary compounds), biogeographical, and molecular data.


2006-09: Welcome Constantino Ruibal, Visiting AFToL Researcher

September 2006 – Welcome, Constantino Ruibal, Visiting AFToL Researcher

The Lutzoni Lab is excited to welcome Constantino Ruibal from the Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures (CBS) in the Netherlands. He joins our lab as an AFToL visitor, and his research will focus on the phylogenetic placement of various groups of melanized, meristematic rock fungi. This work ties in well with the ongoing, NSF-funded research in the Lutzoni Lab to Assemble the Fungal Tree of Life (AFToL), since a number of these organisms are closely related to lichenized fungi in the Chaetothyriomycetidae. As a result of this research, we may gain insight into a number of interesting questions concerning the ecology and evolution of fungal lifestyles, including the origins of lichenization. This work is in collaboration with Sybren DeHoog (CBS) and Cécile Gueidan (Lutzoni Lab).


2006-04: Congratulations Drs. O’Brien and Rydholm!

May 2006 – Congratulations Drs. O’Brien and Rydholm!

Drs. Heath O’Brien and Carla Rydholm have both successfully defended their theses and now become distinguished Lutzoni Lab graduates. Heath wrote his thesis on Nostoc systematics and the specificity of associations between fungi and cyanobacteria in the lichen genus Peltigera. He will be staying on as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in our lab. Carla’s thesis focused on Aspergillus systematics and population biology. In the fall, she will begin a program in law here at Duke. Congratulations and good luck to our recent graduates!


2006-02: Welcome, Louise Lewis, Visiting Researcher

February 2006 – Welcome, Louise Lewis, Visiting Researcher

We welcome Louise Lewis from the University of Connecticut! In our lab, she will continue her study of the evolutionary relationships of symbiotic green algae. She is investigating the relationships between the green algae (“zoochlorellae”) engaged in symbioses with different sea anemone species. The “zoochlorellae” are related to lichen algae such as Coccomyxa, connecting her work with research in the Lutzoni lab.


2006-01: Welcome, Katalin Molnár, Visiting AFToL Researcher

January 2006 – Welcome, Katalin Molnár, Visiting AFToL Researcher

The Lutzoni Lab welcomes Katalin Molnár to Duke University! Katalin is currently a PhD student and a member of the Bryological Research Group of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, where she is the curator of lichens for the Eger Cryptogamic Herbarium of Eszterházy College (EGR). She comes from a floristic background, and has recently studied the lichens of the Carpathian Basin. She is spending the semester assisting with the AFToL project, and hopes to use the techniques that she learns in order to conduct future population studies addressing questions concerning pollution tolerance in Hypogymnia physodes and Lecanora conizaeoides.


2005-10: Welcome, Martin Kukwa, Visiting AFToL Researcher

October 2005 – Welcome, Martin Kukwa, Visiting AFToL Researcher

The Lutzoni lab is extremely excited to welcome Martin Kukwa from the University of Gdansk in Poland! He will be visiting for the next several months to work on the continuing AFToL project. His work in the lab will consist mostly of lichen identification and sequencing of the eight major loci outlined for the AFToL grant.