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K-State Today

November 7, 2014

K-State faculty, students present at 12th annual Ecological Genomics Institute international symposium

Submitted by Jennifer Rhodes

The Kansas State University Ecological Genomics Institute hosted its 12th annual symposium Oct. 31-Nov. 2 in Kansas City, Missouri. Organized by a committee and led by co-directors Loretta Johnson, associate professor, and Michael Herman, professor, from K-State's Division of Biology, the symposium highlighted 10 speakers from the United States, Canada and Germany. Attendees represented 28 universities, 20 states and four countries.

Among the speakers included Ari Jumpponen, associate professor of biology at K-State, who gave the presentation "Fungal communities in urban settings – do humans alter their composition and function?"; and Jesse Poland, assistant professor of plant pathology, who gave the presentation "High-throughput genotype and phenotype analysis of agriculture ecosystems."

A select number of poster abstract submissions were chosen for presentation, including one by K-State's Tara Marriage, a postdoctoral fellow who works with Brad Olson, assistant professor of biology. Additionally, approximately 24 posters were on display from K-State students, postdoctorates and faculty members.

Ten of the 24 posters were displayed by K-State undergraduates, including:

Matthew Galliart, senior in biology, Hutchinson; Obdulia Covarrubias Zambrano, senior in biochemistry, Liberal.

From Manhattan: Sarah Cossey, junior in biology; Mercedes Santiago, senior in biology; and Jasmine Sharp, senior in biology.

Ella Popova, junior in biology, Overland Park; Shelli Partridge, senior in microbiology, Tonganoxie; and Katherine Johnson, junior in biology, Wichita.

From out of state: Halle Sparks, sophomore in biology, St. Louis, Missouri; and Breanna Canning, senior in biology, Richmond, Rhode Island.

"This year's symposium was inspirational and provided an excellent learning experience on several topics. I had a lot of fun and look forward to attending next year," Partridge said.

Based in Kansas State University's Division of Biology, the Ecological Genomics Institute was established in 2003. Approximately 20 faculty from five departments and two colleges collaboratively research challenges in ecological genomics and work together to achieve the goals of the institute. Institute scientists use funding from National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other agencies in various research projects aimed at understanding the genomic basis of adaptive responses of organisms to their natural environment. This year's symposium was funded in part with a Kansas State University Academic Excellence Award from the Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President and the American Genetics Association.

For more information about the Ecological Genomics Institute contact the program coordinator, Jennifer Rhodes, at jenniferrhodes@k-state.edu.