Lab Members: Amanda Wilson

Amanda Wilson

Ph.D. Student
Department of Biology
Duke University

B.S., Plant Sciences
Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA, 2023

Research Interests
My fascination with fungi dates back to my early teen years when I saw some funky-looking corn plants in my home state of Indiana; rather than normal kernels, the plants had swollen dark tumors. I was amazed to learn that they were afflicted by Ustilago maydis, a fungus that lives within corn plants and disperses by filling its host’s kernels with airborne fungal spores. Since then, I have been interested in the interactions between plants and fungi. As it turns out, a plethora of fungi are known to reside asymptomatically within plants, hence their name “endophytes.” Fungal endophytes are found within all land plants and believed to confer important fitness benefits for their plant hosts. However, their mechanisms of dispersal remain elusive. Therefore, I am interested in studying how fungal endophytes are getting around and the ways in which dispersal can affect their population structures.