Faculty, staff and students from EEB gathered on May 18, 2023 to celebrate the end of the semester, recognize award-winners, and honor retirees. Check out this YouTube video to see all of the winners, along with some photos from the celebration.
Fungi have come to the cultural forefront with the new popular series, “The Last of Us” on HBO. The series, based upon the video game of the same name, is set in an alternate 2023, during which a mass fungal infection has caused societal breakdown. In this piece produced by CBS-affiliate WVLT, EEB graduate student Django Grootmyers discusses whether this fiction could ever become fact.
There is an August 23, 2017 article in New Scientist about hallucinogenic mushrooms and their insect-repellent properties. The article mentions work done at Ohio State, and the Matheny Lab helped with the research, particularly former grad student Hailee Korotkin (MS 2017).
There’s a similar article in The Atlantic.
EEB’s Brandon Matheny, together with Neale Bougher from the Western Australian Herbarium, authored a book that came out in June 2017 called Fungi of Australia: Inocybaceae. This major revision describes a total of 137 recognized species, of which 101 are new to science! Read the full description from the publisher, below.
The family Inocybaceae are a diverse cosmopolitan group of gilled fungi. Until now, only a small number of species had been described from Australia, but with this major revision a total of 137 species are recognised, of which 101 are new to science. Ninety per cent of these species (121 of the 137) are found only in Australia. Phylogenetic work shows that the family can be divided into seven main groups, of which six are now recorded from Australia, making this country one of the major centres of diversity for the family. They are all thought to be ectomycorrhizal, that is they form mutually beneficial associations with the roots of plants, and are found on soil and amid litter in wet- and dry-sclerophyll shrublands, woodlands and forests, and cool- or warm temperate rainforests. Many are small and easily overlooked, but their diversity of colour and delicate structure make them attractive to those with an eye for detail. This authoritative account provides a major advance in knowledge for this diverse and widespread group, with detailed descriptions, identification keys and phylogenetic trees based on DNA sequences generated during the work. Every species is illustrated with coloured plates and/or line drawings of microscopic features.
Fungi of Australia: Inocybaceae is a useful reference for professional and semi-professional mycologists in Australia and around the world.
Congratulations to the EEB grad students who won Graduate Student Senate awards this year. There are a few different categories:
Research: This award is presented to graduate students who have received national and/or international recognition in their fields and show professional promise in their areas of research and creative achievement.
- Sam Borstein (O’Meara Lab)
- Angela Chuang (Riechert Lab)
- Aaron Floden (Schilling Lab)
- Alanni-Grace Grant (Kalisz Lab)
- Chloe Lash (Kwit Lab)
- Brian Looney (Matheny Lab)
- Margaret Mamantov (Sheldon Lab)
- Austin Milt (PhD 2015, Armsworth Lab)
- Morgan Roche (Kalisz Lab)
- Michael Van Nuland (Schweitzer Lab)
- Rachel Wooliver (Schweitzer Lab)
Service: This award is presented to graduate students who are extraordinary campus leaders or participate in service learning and other community initiatives.
- Christine Dumoulin (Armsworth Lab)
Teaching: This award is given to graduate teaching assistants for extraordinary performance in teaching.
- Amanda Benoit (Kalisz Lab)
- Liam Mueller (Schweitzer Lab)
- Tyson Paulson (Fordyce Lab)
The Knoxville News-Sentinel has an article on the research that Karen Hughes, Brandon Matheny and Ron Petersen are doing on the post-fire growth of fungi in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Check it out at
EEB students have done very well again in the 2017 round of NSF GRFP (Graduate Research Fellowship Program) fellowships! Our congratulations go to finishing undergraduate Patrick McKenzie (Armsworth Lab), incoming graduate student Rachel Swenie (Matheny Lab), and current PhD student Morgan Roche (Kalisz Lab).
In addition, two EEB alumni won GRFP awards: Robert Connell (BS 2015, Kwit Lab, now at Kansas State University), and Kenna Rewcastle (BS 2015, Classen Lab)
PhD student Chloe Lash (Kwit Lab) received an honorable mention for her proposal.
A total of 15 NSF GRFP awardees and 3 honorable mentions were affiliated with the University of Tennessee (either as undergraduates, current students, or both), this means EEB accounts for 1/3 of UT’s NSF awardees and honorable mentions!
Also, Biz Sheedy, a visiting grad student to the Matheny Lab from Melbourne, has a paper on the diversification of truffle-forming fungi in Australia on the cover of Australian Systematic Botany (Volume 29 numbers 4-5).
Associate Professor Brandon Matheny received an award from the Daniel E. Stuntz Memorial Foundation to revise the taxonomy of species of Inocybe (a genus of mushroom-forming fungi in the order Agaricales) published by Dan Stuntz between 1947 and 1984. A revision of these species will facilitate a new floristic and monographic treatment of Inocybe in North America, a cosmopolitan genus represented by some 350 species in North America alone.
Brian Looney (Matheny Lab) has one of his Russula mushroom photos from Thailand on the cover of the January 2016 issue of Molecular Ecology. This accompanies his article, “Into and out of the tropics: global diversification patterns in a hyperdiverse clade of ectomycorrhizal fungi” (pages 630–647).