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I am a quantitative geneticist and systems biologist interested in plant-microbe interactions. My previous work during my PHD has focused on plant genetic control of central and specialized metabolism as well as the importance of genetic variation in the plant host and fungal necrotrophic pathogen in quantitative resistance. My undergraduate and Master’s work explored the use of biotechnology for restoration of American chestnut (Castanea dentata) to the eastern forests of North America after the introduction of the devastating chestnut blight fungus (Cryphonectria parasitica). At CSU, I am working to understand on how plant intra-specific variation shapes host-associated microbiomes and how plant hosts can shape the microbial communities that inhabit them.


KEVIN LEHNER | Office: C029 Plant Science Building | Email:

I am a postdoc in John McKay’s lab. I study the complex interactions between genetics and environment in corn and sorghum. My goal is to identify genes that promote stable crop yields under drought stress. Originally from the hot and humid southeast, I am a proud graduate of Santa Fe Community College and the University of Florida. I received my PhD in Genetics and Genomics from Duke University in 2018.


FEDERICO MARTIN | Office: C209 Plant Science Building | Email:

I’m a native from Santa Fe, Argentina and my educational background include an B.S. from Arizona State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Florida. My main area of interest is plant molecular biology and cell development focusing mostly in cereal crops. Currently, I’m working on an NSF funded project aimed to improve rice disease resistance response utilizing genome editing technology to analyze transcriptional activation of disease resistance QTLs.

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YUAN ZENG | Office: C202 Plant Science Building | Email:

I am originally from China, and I came to U.S. for graduate school in Auburn University (Alabama) in Forestry, Entomology, and Statistics. I joined Dr. Amy Charkowski’s laboratory in Fall 2017 at Colorado State University, and my research in San Luis Valley Research Center focuses on improving detection and management of soil-borne potato pathogens, with an emphasis on Potato mop-top virus (PMTV), a virus causes necrosis of potato, and its vector Spongospora subterranea, the agent responsible for powdery scab on potato tubers in order to aid local farmers in understanding soil-borne potato pathogens and improving management strategies.



I am an evolutionary biologist interested in how organisms adapt to their environment. My PhD research focused on local adaptation of the invasive crop pest Drosophila suzukii to different host plants, in wild and experimental populations. I received my PhD in Ecology and Evolution from the University of Montpellier (France) in 2019. Now, I am a postdoc in Ruth Hufbauer’s lab. I am working with Tribolium beetles to study the conditions that allow declining populations in stressful environments to adapt and grow, a phenomenon called /evolutionary rescue./ I am studying the effects of different eco-evolutionary factors on evolutionary rescue, including the role of density dependence. To do that, as in my PhD, I am using experimental evolution and population genomics.

ASchulz_White Pine Fieldwork

Ashley Schulz |  Email:

As a forest entomologist, my research addresses questions in forest health and ecology. As an undergraduate and McNair Scholar at the University of Missouri, I assessed the effects of prescribed fire and refugia on arthropod diversity in the Missouri Ozarks. During my M.S. at the University of Georgia, I evaluated associations between eastern white pine dieback and an insect-pathogen complex that is impacting white pine regeneration in the Appalachian Mountains. For my doctorate at Arkansas State University, I used biocontrol datasets to develop models and answer questions about non-native insect invasions in North America. Now, as a postdoc in the Hufbauer Lab at CSU, I am collaborating with a “High-impact insect invasions” working group to develop impact models and integrate model predictions into a user-friendly interface that will generate impact assessments for non-native insect invaders in rural and urban forests of North America.


Olga Kohzar | Email:

I am a postdoctoral fellow at Colorado State University. I received my PhD degree in Plant Pathology at Washington State University in 2019 where I studied ecology and population biology of Botrytis cinerea, causal agent of gray mold disease, on small fruit hosts in the US Pacific Northwest. My main research interests are fungal evolution, population biology, migration and adaptation of fungal plant pathogens to hosts and environments. In 2020 I joined Dr. Jane Stewart Lab to study the evolution of emerging fungal tree pathogen, a newly identified potential hybrid of two fungal species – white pine blister rust (Cronartium ribicola) and comandra blister rust (Cronartium comandrae). My another research focus lays into the investigation of population genomics of the fungus Phellinux noxius that causes brown root rot on tropical trees

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