McCotter successfully defends MS thesis
Sean W. McCotter successfully defended his MS thesis, “Use of whole genome sequence data to characterize mating and RNA-silencing genes in Tilletia species,” on November 18, 2014, in the Department of Plant Pathology at Washington State University. His committee consisted of Lori Carris (Major Advisor), Dorrie Main, Patricia Okubara, and Lisa A. Castlebury. Sean’s research demonstrated similarity between the bipolar mating system in Tilletia caries and previously characterized mating systems in other smut fungi, but also provided the first evidence for duplication of homeodomain genes in fungi outside of subphylum Agaricomycotina. In January, 2015, Sean will begin a doctoral program with Dr. Jim Kronstad in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of British Columbia, where his research will focus on identifying sources of iron in planta for the phytopathogenic smut fungus Ustilago maydis and comparisons of the iron uptake mechanisms found in U. maydis and the related human pathogen, Cryptococcus neoformans.