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NFBR lecture series concludes with presentation by renowned botanist

Dr. Joseph Spatafora, professor of botany and plant pathology at Oregon State University and a 1986 Louisiana Tech University alumnus, will discuss his research during a presentation titled, “Phylogenomics of Fungal Secondary Metabolism” in the final installment of Louisiana Tech’s 2015-2016 New Frontiers in Biomedical Research lecture series.

Dr. Joseph Spatafora

Dr. Joseph Spatafora

Spatafora’s lecture is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. on May 9 in University Hall on the Louisiana Tech campus.  The event is free and members of the campus and local communities are cordially invited to attend.

The New Frontiers in Biomedical Research seminar series is co-organized by Dr. Jamie Newman, the Scott Weathersby Endowed Professor in Zoology and Premedicine and assistant professor in biological sciences, and Dr. Mary Caldorera-Moore, assistant professor of biomedical engineering.  The 2015-2016 series has spotlighted interdisciplinary collaborations, alumni spotlights and features, and research discussions by renowned guest speakers from across the nation.

According to his Oregon State faculty website, Spatafora’s research focuses primarily on molecular systematics and evolutionary genomics of fungi with a particular emphasis on evolutionary biology of fungal symbioses as they relate to the evolution of host shifts, phylogenetic integration of ecologically disparate groups of fungi, and population biology of closely related organisms with different reproductive life histories.

Spatafora has received a number of teaching and research awards including the Oregon State University Alumni Distinguished Professor Award, the Weston Teaching Award from the Mycological Society of America, and the Thomas T. Sugihara Young Faculty Research Award from Oregon State’s College of Science.  He has also mentored over a dozen graduate students and nine postdoctoral fellows, and publishes with them regularly in the top journals in his field.

Spatafora earned his bachelor’s degree from Louisiana Tech in 1986 before going to LSU to complete his Ph.D. in botany and postdoc at Duke University.  He has worked on large collaborative project sequencing genomes of various plants and fungi, and most recently completed a sabbatical in Nancy, France where he worked on phylogenomics of Kingdom Fungi with an emphasis on the evolution of nutritional modes.

All lectures along with select video from the New Frontiers in Biomedical Research seminar series will be recorded and can be accessed through the College of Engineering and Science’s Events web page at http://coes.latech.edu/about-the-college/events.php.

Spatafora’s presentation is sponsored by the School of Biological Sciences and the College of Applied and Natural Sciences.  Season sponsors for the 2015-2016 series include Lincoln Health Foundation, Louisiana Tech’s College of Engineering and Science, the College of Applied and Natural Sciences, the Office of the President, Center for Biomedical Engineering and Rehabilitation Science, Sigma Xi, and generous donations from members of the community.

For more information on Spatafora and his presentation, or other events in this year’s New Frontiers in Biomedical Research series, visit www.biomedicalresearch.wix.com/new-frontiers.