Busby lab

Busby lab spring 2022



Austen Apigo received his PhD from UC Santa Barbara and his thesis work explored the diversity and host specificity of fungal endophytes across a continental latitudinal gradient. Current work in Populus trichocarpa examines how fungal endophytes impact litter decomposition and how host traits and fungal species pools contribute to community assembly.

Graduate students

Melissa Vergara is a PhD student. As an undergraduate at UC Santa Cruz, she studied fungal pathogens in the Redwood forests of Santa Cruz and the tropical rainforests of Panama. At OSU she hopes to focus on the ecology of seed, leaf and flower microbes in both natural and man-made environments. 









Maria-Jose Romero-Jimenez is a PhD student. She is interested in the plasticity of fungi, plant-fungal interactions and their role on agriculture and evolving ecosystems. Maria is from Costa Rica where she studied Biotechnology Engineering at Instituto Tecnologico de Costa Rica for her undergrad. She later studied Biology for her master’s degree at Western Illinois University. Maria’s research at WIU was on the description of a novel fungal dark septate endophyte. She also worked on the characterization of the role and biogeography of species within the Darksidea genus on the Great Plains in the US.


Abbey Neat is a PhD student working with both Andy Jones and Posy Busby. She engaged in research studying agricultural plant pathogens and tropical forest ecosystems as an undergraduate at UC Davis. Through these experiences, she developed an interest in plant-fungal interactions of all types, with a particular interest in mycorrhizal symbioses. Abbey plans to focus her research on understanding the degree to which trees in forest ecosystems rely on their fungal symbionts for growth and survival.

Kyle Gervers

Kyle Gervers

Kyle Gervers is a PhD student working with Posy and Joey Spatafora on fungal symbionts of Pseudotsuga menziesii, Douglas fir. He is using a variety of molecular and analytical approaches to describe genetic and ecological factors that contribute to the maintenance of symbioses and fungal community structure across the range of Douglas fir. Kyle studied the systematics and biogeography of Jatropha as an undergraduate at the University of Texas at Austin.

Jessie Zimmerman is a BPP MS student. In collaboration with Achala KC, his research investigates the grapevine microbiome and grapevine trunk disease.

Undergraduate students

  • Abbey Coday
  • Forrest Walker
  • Sloan Crowell
  • Birgitta Woods

Former members

Busby Lab

Busby Lab – February 2020

BUsby Lab - October 2018

Busby Lab – October 2018


  • Maggie Wagner, Assistant Professor, University of Kansas
  • Natalie Christian, Assistant Professor, University of Louisville
  • Shawn Brown, Assistant Professor, University of Memphis
  • Devin Leopold, Bioinformaticist / Research Scientist, Jonah Ventures
  • Lucas Nebert, Postdoctoral Researcher, OSU

Graduate students

  • Sabrina Heitmann, MS
  • Ed Barge, PhD
  • Kayla Delventhal, MS

Undergraduate students:

  • Mariana Garcia (REU)
  • Michael Getz
  • Elizabeth Juarez (REU)
  • Sydney Turner (REU)
  • Jacob Buckner (OSU Honors College thesis)
  • Gillian Bergmann (REU, OSU Honors College thesis)
  • Shikhar Hatwal
  • Mrinal Thapliyal (OSU Honors College thesis)
  • Abigail Kretschmar