Kabir named Terman Fellow!


Frederick E. Terman

Kabir has been selected as a Terman Fellow for three years, beginning Fall 2016. The fellowship provides assistance to young Stanford faculty (from the schools of Engineering, Medicine, Earth Sciences, and Humanities and Sciences) in establishing laboratories and recruiting students and postdoctoral fellows. Established in 1994 through a gift from William R. Hewlett and David Packard, the award honors Frederick E. Terman, engineer and former Stanford University Provost.

Congratulations, Kabir!

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Conference Season

This week the Peay Lab is spread from sea to shining sea for two concurrent conferences: Mycological Society of America 2016 (Berkeley, CA) and the 101st Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting (Fort Lauderdale, FL). Congratulations to attendees on their talks and posters—we are proud to have them representing our lab!

Peay Lab at MSA

The Peay Lab poses in front of Gabriel’s poster at MSA 2016: (back, left to right) Kabir, Gabriel, Ken; (front, left to right) Sonya, Nora, Laura, Nic.

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Blog Post #2 | One Shroom to Rule Them All

Natalie Francis, our resident Stanford Earth Young Investigator this summer, has summarized her work in the Peay Lab in this excellent blog post. Read Natalie’s outstanding piece here:

Stanford Earth Young Investigators

             Hey all. This is Natalie Francis reporting back again from the Peay Lab. Since my last post, I have returned to the important niche of fungal ecology known as ectomychorrizal associations with graduate student Laura. As I wrote about in my last post, ectomycorrhiza are fungal symbionts with plant roots that uptake nitrogen from the soil which they exchange for carbon from their plant hosts. Unlike last summer, when I helped Laura to process her samples in the data collection phase of her project, this summer I have been assisting her in the process of designing and developing her procedure and experimental design for a new project. For her latest project on mycorrhiza, she wants to know how Thelephora terrestris, a notorious generalist capable of having symbiotic relationships with a wide variety of phylogenetically distinct plants, behaves in the presence of five different…

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(Belated) Lab Send-offs!

Farewell to Nora and Alison.jpg

A touching lab farewell, complete with mycological art, for our lab graduates: Alison (left) and Nora (right).

What a momentous summer for our lab! We have said recently said goodbye to two of our lab members as they move onto the next stages of their ecological careers.

In early June, Alison gave her outstanding dissertation defense, entitled “A nutritional perspective on the Lepidopteran gut microbial community,” and was awarded her PhD in Biology from Stanford University—officially making her the Peay Lab’s first PhD graduate!  Excited to continue her work in the symbiosis between insects and their microbial endosymbionts, Alison has joined Dr. Molly Hunter’s laboratory at the University of Arizona as a postdoctoral fellow. We look forward to her upcoming work, and wish her the best in her future endeavors!

In late June, Nora wrapped up her work on fungal succession in Tule Elk dung and completed her accomplished stint as our lab manager. After presenting a poster describing her work (“Abiotic causes and consequences of coprophilous fungal succession on Tule Elk dung”) at the Mycological Society of America 2016, she will move across the country and begin her graduate career as a PhD student working with Dr. Anne Pringle at the University of Wisconsin. There, she hopes to apply her experience with fungal ecology, evolution, and genomics to study the evolution of the ectomycorrhizal lifestyle in Amanita. We are not sure how we will keep the lab afloat without our beloved lab manager, but are excited to see what she’ll do at Wisconsin!

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Kabir Wins DOE Funding!

Our very own Dr Kabir Peay has won the Early Career Research Program Funding given out by the DOE. This program only gives support to exceptional researchers early in their careers and is awarded to about 50 researchers each year.

Kabir’s research proposal is titled, “Does Mycorrhizal Symbiosis Determine the Climate Niche for Populus as a Bioenergy Feedstock?” and will be an exciting addition to current work done in our lab! His abstract can be found here.

Congratulations Kabir!!!

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Congrats to Sonya on her recent Publication

Sonya Erlandson recently published a chapter of her thesis in FEMS Microbiology Ecology titled,

Soil moisture and chemistry influence diversity of ectomycorrhizal fungal communities associating with willow along an hydrologic gradient

Her publication explores the influences of the soil environment and willow host species on ectomycorrhizal fungal communities at Cedar Creek in MN.

Find it at: http://m.femsec.oxfordjournals.org//content/early/2015/11/29/femsec.fiv148




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An Interview with Alison

Peay Lab’s senior graduate student Alison Ravenscraft is a CEHG fellow (Computational, Evolutionary and Human Genetics at Stanford) for her final year at Stanford. Recently she was interviewed about her work at Stanford and her interest in insects and microorganisms. Check it out here! Fellows Feature: Alison Ravenscraft



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Mushroom Mania! at Stanford Splash

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Peay Lab members celebrating completion of a fun-filled Splash class. Left to right: Joe, Nora, Laura

Stanford Splash brings hundreds of middle and high school students to the Stanford campus for educational enrichment classes. Check out Mushroom Mania!, a Splash class taught by lab members Laura, Nora, and Joe:

What do cheese, zombie ants and the biggest, oldest living thing have in common? Fungi! Mushrooms are the part of the a fungus that we see, but they’re just the tip of the iceberg. Most of the action takes place out of sight.

Come learn about the hidden world of fungi in this interactive course. You will learn about the ecology, evolution, and human uses of fungi, and will get hands-on practice identifying mushrooms on your own!

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A quick guide to Mycologese.

After discussing the diversity and ecology of fungi, Mushroom Maniacs practiced their taxonomic skills by indentifying 12 kinds of mushrooms collected from the Stanford campus and local grocery stores–check out the dichotomous key to the macrofungi of Mushroom Mania! for a full list. Favorites included the delightfully bulbous king oyster mushroom (Pleurotus eryngii), the colorful and phenolic-smelling yellow-stainer (Agaricus xanthodermus), and the very cool caterpillar fungus (Ophiocordyceps sinesis).

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A Mushroom Mania! student continues a long tradition of mycological art with this charming Pleurotus eryngii illustration. Look at the decurrent gills!

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Students dissected and keyed mushrooms–the piles of fungal debris attest the power of hands-on learning!

Agaricus xanthodermus

This Agaricus xanthodermus specimen enthusiastically demonstrated “bright yellow staining when bruised” and a “strong phenolic odor.” Mushroom Maniacs learned how to use these characteristics to distinguish it from its familiar grocery store cousin, the button mushroom (Agaricus bisporus).

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Congrats to Max on his TWO paper publications!

Max has been busy in summer 2015! He had a paper titled, “Strong upslope shifts in Chimborazo’s vegetation over two centuries since Humboldt” published in PNAS -http://www.pnas.org/content/112/41/12741


A paper titled, “Pervasive and strong effects of plants on soil chemistry: a meta-analysis of individual plant ‘Zinke’ effects” published in Proceedings B – http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/282/1812/20151001.abstract

Make sure you check them out!

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Peay Lab Wins Pumpkin Contest

Thanks to our resident artist Max Segnitz, Peay lab has been awarded the prize for “Pumpkin Most Resembling a Faculty Member” in the 2015 Biology Dept Pumpkin Fest! Way to go, Max!

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