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Population Biology of Emerging Fungal Threats to Plants and People

Research in the lab focuses on understanding the genetic basis of emerging fungal threats to plants and people. We are particularly interested in the evolutionary processes that contribute to population-level diversity, to the formation of new species, and to species diversification. We aim to uncover the genetic basis for differences in pathogenicity, virulence, and host specialization within species and among closely-related species. We want to understand differences between agricultural and natural populations of fungal plant pathogens and how agriculture shapes population structure and diversity. We use population genetics, population genomics, comparative genomics, and molecular phylogenetics to answer our questions.

Other interests include phylogeography, fungal mating systems, and using population genetics to solve epidemiological problems in the field including sources of inoculum, pathogen overwintering mode, populations overcoming host resistance, and the evolution of fungicide resistance.


Lab News

May 2019. The Brewer lab is hiring a USDA NIFA-funded postdoctoral researcher interested in antifungal resistance in the plant-associated human pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus. Join us !

Postdoc announcement pdf

May 2019. Congratulations to Annakay Abrahams on being the 2019 recipient of the APS Individual Experiential Award with the goal of…

“…promoting career and research development experiences outside of academia for current graduate students and post-doctorates. One award of $500 will be given on an annual basis to an individual graduate student or post-doctorate for funding in support of a short-term experience with a government or private organization to subsidize travel to the host organization. The purpose of this award is to support professional development to learn about career opportunities and/or gain technical expertise in support of current research endeavors. “

Annakay will be working with Dr. Scott Gold at the USDA-ARS in Athens, GA on transformation of Exobasidium maculosum.

April 2019. Hannah Halpern successfully defended her Master’s thesis – Population biology of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. vasinfectum in the Southeast

April 2019. CURO Undergraduate Research Scholar Courtney Cameron won first place for her presentation, “Terminal die-back of pecan, the result of a new Neofusicoccum species,” at the CAES Undergraduate Research Symposium

February 2019. PhD student Annakay Abrahams was the recipient of a 2019 UGA Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award