A zoom view of all lab members in Fall 2020
Fall 2020 socially-distanced lab group photo

Dr. Anny ChungPhoto of Anny

Haines Family Assistant Professor of Belowground Plant Ecology


I am interested in interactions between plants and their invisible microbial partners, and how that changes the way plants interact with each other, ultimately forming the visible community and ecosystems around us.



Dr. Cristy Portales-ReyesCristy picture

Postdoctoral researcher

I am interested in understanding how feedbacks between plants, microbes, and soils, might promote or perpetuate shifts in diversity and ecosystem states. As a postdoc in the Chung lab, I will use theory and models to think about the role of these feedbacks in ecosystem transitions from grassland to shrubland in the Southwest US.



Nicolas LouwPhoto of Nick

PBIO Masters student


Currently, my research interest is to study how and why relationships in nature persists between organisms from different kingdoms to ones from the same species, and how these relationships can influence whole ecosystems. During my time in the Chung lab, I hope to gain a deeper understanding on ecological patterns occurring with plant-microbe interactions and how these patterns influence plant communities.


Melanie Merrittpicture of melanie

PBIO PhD student


I am interested in how root systems and their soil microbiomes affect or alter the structure of plant communities. During my time in the Chung Lab I hope to better understand the role chemical signaling plays in the symbiosis of plant roots and their microbial counterparts.



Kelly McCrumKelly photo

PBIO PhD student co-advised with Jill Anderson


My research interests include how plant and microbial communities are adapting to changing climatic conditions. Studying plant-soil feedbacks may provide information on the resiliency of ecosystems, and help us better protect threatened plant populations and communities.


Jordan ArgrettJordan Argrett photo

Lab technician and manager


My primary research interests lie in plant-soil-microbe interactions and their potential impact on plant and soil community structure. My current interest focuses on the lesser-known interactions between parasitic plants and mycorrhizal fungi in a variety of ecosystem types found in the Southeastern United States.



Michelle HensonMichelle Henson picture

PBIO PhD student


I’m interested in studying plant-microbial interactions within the context of environmental change (i.e. disturbances and climate change). I hope to gain a better understanding of the mechanisms involved in driving bacterial and fungal community structure and function in order to better predict the effects of global change in natural and disturbed ecosystems. 


Xiomy P. DavilaXiomy picture

Plant Pathology PhD student


I am passionate about plant-fungal interactions, especially in root systems (including endophytes, root-associated fungi, and mycorrhizae) and how these associations impact plant community structure and crops.  I am also interested in how plants change (physiology and genome) when forming symbiotic associations and/or plant defenses against fungal pathogens. During my PhD, I hope to better understand the role of fungi on plant community structure and their beneficial effect on crops. In my free time, I like posting about fungi on my Facebook fan page (spanish) to encourage more Latin American students to do research in the fungi world. 


Nayna JoomaNayna photo

Undergraduate research associate

(2nd Year Undergraduate Student, B.S. Biology)


I am interested in learning how plant-microbe interactions affect the growth and survival of plants as well as how this relationship impacts the plant’s surrounding ecosystem. During my time in Dr. Chung’s lab, I hope to gain a better understanding of microbial communities associated with plants and to obtain valuable laboratory skills.



Zianya SolisZianya

Undergraduate research associate


I am a third-year Genetics major with a minor in human development and family science and I am interested in observing different organisms and how they are affected by disturbances to their naturally occurring state. I will be observing the effects microbes have on plant roots and developing my lab skills, as well as assisting in sample prep and day-to-day lab activities.