Josh has long been scientist and began digging in the soil at an early age. During his childhood he was influenced by his grandfathers, one a farmer and the other a high school science teacher. He has a lot of interests, for better or worse, that has led him in many directions. Probably the most lasting influece was his undergraduate research mentor at Virginia Tech, Orson K. Miller, who introduced Josh to the fungi. After his undergraduate degree in biochemistry, Josh worked for two years on a USAID sponsored project (Green Muscle, for those of you in the know) to develop a fungal biocontrol agent for plague locusts in Sub-Saharan Africa. Next, Josh persued a MS degree from the University of Wyoming studying the fungal genus Lactarius before landing in Portland, Oregon, for a few years working for the USDA as a research scientist at the Pacific Northwest Research Station. In 2006 to 2012, Josh focused on his Ph.D. in Intergrative Biology in the Plant Sciences Option at Pennsylvania State University where he worked in the laboratory of John E. Carlson studying the microbiome of Poplar trees. Josh then spent a year as a visiting scientist in both INRA in Nancy / Champenoux working with Francis Martin & Marc Buee, and as a visiting scientist at Chomnam National University in Gwangju, South Korea. Josh was a post-doc at Michigan State University from 2013 to 2015 in the department of Microbiology etc. Josh started his independent career at the University of Nebraska Lincoln in 2015 as an Assistant Professor. His home department is the Department of Plant Pathology, but he has a joint appointment at the Center for Plant Science Innovation, and a courtesy appointment in the Genetics, Cell, and Molecular Biology section of the School of Biological Sciences. He started an affilliation with Software and Data Carpentry in 2012, and that role has influenced his focused interest in computational biology and bioinformatics, in addition to mycology, microbiology, and plant biology. Lately, he has been investigating human viruses. When he’s not sciencing, he’s probably developing teaching materials, listening to music, and/or walking his dogs. He and the members of the laboratory are committed to publishing our code, disseminating our datasets, and posting manuscripts on preprint servers when posssible.
Jerry came to visit the laboratory for his Sabbatical from nearby Nebraska Wesleyan University, where he is a faculty member in the Biology Department. Jerry’s past research has been in the diversity of plant endophytes, which is still a research focus for him, but he spends more research time on understanding the role of microorganisms in honey bee colony health. He’s been an incredible addition to the lab and we’re so happy that he has continued to be involved in laboratory activities long after his Sabbatical year ended.
Graciela, an alumnus of the Plant Pathology Department at UNL, has long been active in various laboratories in the department. For many years she worked closely with Professor Jim Steadman. She is also affiliated with Amit Mitra’s laboratory where she continues dry bean research, and she has recently joined the Herr Lab as a research visiting scientist during the summer. She is currently studying the specificity and diversity of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi associated with dry beans and she addresses her research questions using amplicon and metatranscriptomic techniques. Her summer work in the lab is funded from a research grant from the Nebraska Dry Bean Growers Association. Most of the year she is a plant pathologist and researcher at the Instituto Dominicano de Investigaciones Agropecuarias y Forestales in the Dominican Republic. Outside of the laboratory, she enjoys doing God’s work, taking care of animals and searching for shopping bargains. She keeps the laboratory stocked with quality coffee and chocolate.
Rachel’s research interests are… Rachel joined the Herr lab as a postdoc in August of 2019.
Emma is an undergraduate researchers who came to our lab with Jerry Bricker from Nebraska Wesleyan University. She’s taken on numerous projects! She presented on her work characterizing the soil microbial communities of a long-term grassland ecosystem at the end of summer 2019 and she has continued this work since then.
Thais’s PhD research was focused on the transcriptomics of Goss’s Wilt and Bacterial Leak Streak in Maize and studying the metagenomics and metatranscriptomics of Maize in response to pathogen infection. She successfully defended her dissertation in the spring of 2020
Ashley graduated from the University of Utah with a B.Sc. degree in Biology. Since starting the Complex Biosystems Graduate Degree program at UNL in Fall 2015 she has enjoyed exploring the jungle beneath our feet - investigating microbial diversity and function in soil environments in order to better understand the underlying processes that shape soil health in agroecosystems. In addition to her interests in studying microbial community ecology, Ashley also enjoys teaching and has developed skills as an instructional designer and educator. Her teaching goals are founded on empowering students to achieve tangible outcomes and promote student-driven learning in discipline specific areas by balancing traditional lecture with active learning approaches. Since summer 2018 Ashley has served on the CASNR strategic framework graduate student committee and has recently led the development of a digital badge for inclusive excellence. This effort aims to reach current students, faculty, and staff, as well as the broader community in order to provide opportunities for cultivating awareness, dialogue, and self-reflection about diversity, equity, and inclusion in personal and professional contexts. As a queer woman in science, participating in the mission to develop workshops and expand diversity and inclusion programming at UNL has been a powerful personal experience.
Carrie Brown - Graduate Student - Complex Biosystems
2015 - 2016
Subsequently: Carrie is now the Outreach and Training Specialist the Holland Computing Center
Alex Corrigan - Summer REU Student from
2019 - 2019
Ann Buchmann, Ph.D. - Sabbatical Professor from Chadron State College
2019 - 2019
Shamira Gonzalez - Summer REU Student from
2018 - 2018
2018 - 2019
Subsequently: Undergraduate at Carlton College
2018 - 2019
Subsequently: Undergraduate at Duke University
2018 - 2018
Subsequently: Lincoln High Senior