News from the Herr Laboratory

New paper on wound responses in Poplar!

Josh Herr
29 November 2021


A portion of my dissertation work (this is Josh, by the way) was to characterize the role of microorganisms in modulating responses to biotic and abiotic stressed in Poplar (Populus deltoides hybrid crossing in particular). In this context I attempted to characterize portions of the Jasmonic Acid (JA) pathway responsible for response to stresses.

I’m happy to report that we’ve published on the mechanisms of AOS1 gene expression and reported on the gene’s promoter. AOS1 is a member of the CYP74 gene family and one of the first “dedicated” steps in the JA pathway. This work wouldn’t have happened without great collaborators - led by Haiying Liang and her lab members at Clemson University and along with fellow Collaborators Chris Frost and John Carlson.

You can find the manuscript, entitled Poplar Allene Oxide Synthase 1 Gene Promoter Drives Rapid and Localized Expression by Wounding through the journal Biotechnology Journal International.

We're in the news!

Josh Herr
16 November 2021


We certainly have a lot of laboratory projects funded from a few different agencies across a lot of different areas right now. From fungal-plant interactions, the diversity of viruses on human skin, bacteria associated with plants and mushrooms – there is a lot to keep track of!

One area that is not funded specifically, but has a lot of volunteer help recently, is our interest in surveying and documenting fungal diversity in the state of Nebraska. The great plains have just not been well documented (ever) and there are a lot of new findings to be made.

We’ve been fortunate to have been working with a team of citizen scientists - notably Jon Hees. Jon is a self-made mycologist. He works days as a forklift operator and on evenings and weekends he documents the fungal diversity in the local forests. He’s found some interesting fungi - some possibly new species that we are investigating. Jon also moderates a Facebook group for Nebraska mushrooms where people can record their findings and documented locations for the survey.

The laboratory work with Jon has been highlighted in a couple of newspapers in the last week. On November 10th, there was an article in the Omaha World Herald. On November 15th, an article was featured locally in the Lincoln Journal Star. It’s exciting to see interest in this work out in public!

Rachel has a few new papers published!

Josh Herr
08 November 2021


While we’re not done documenting Rachel Koch’s work in the laboratory just yet, she and I have a couple of publications focused on the genus Armillaria that are new (published over the past two months).

The first of her new publications, published in mSystems, is focused on the interactions of the mushrooms Entoloma abortivum and species of the genus Armillaria. This was a really fun project to work on! I had envisioned this study 20 years ago and it was really fulfilling to complete this with Rachel! You can find the paper here!

We used public data focused on the genus Armillaria for a paper on the global diversity of the genus. This is published in Frontiers of Microbiology under the Microbes and Virus Interactions with Plants sub-section. You can read that paper here!

While it would have been amazing to have Rachel stick around the lab (things like finances and life happen!), she’s recently taken a position at University of Connecticut! We have more work in the publication pipeline, so stay tuned for more publications from her work in the laboratory!

Rachel's Latest Paper is published in Current Biology

Josh Herr
09 July 2021


We’re really excited to announce that post-doc Rachel Koch’s paper on the biology of the really fascinating fungus Guyanagaster, is out in Current Biology today! This paper documents the first time that nitrogen fixation has been documented in a fungal fruiting body through the associated internal bacteria. This was a paper that led out of her PhD thesis work, which she expanded here in the lab. It was a great way for her to transition from her PhD work to some of her work in her post-doc position in the lab. Congratulations Rachel!

Finally! An Updated Website!

Josh Herr
28 August 2020

The Herr Lab has an updated website! Yay! This was a long time coming and it’s still in the middle of updates. We appreciate your patience! We also want to thank the other laboratories whose open websites contributed to ours!

Thais defends her PhD! Congratulations Thais!

Josh Herr
21 April 2020

We’re absolutely thrillled to announce that Thais successfully defended her dissertation today! Congratulations Thais! Her work addressed the transcriptomics of the infection of four different maize cultivars under infection from two pathogenic bacteria affecting Nebraska corn growers (and those around the world) - Clavibacter nebraskensis and Xanthomonas vasicolas. Thais’s defense wasn’t quite the way we envisioned it with the global pandemic - but we’re glad nothing was able to stop her! Thais was one of the first lab members and we’ll be very sad to see her go - she will be a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Florida Tropical Research Plant Diagnostic Clinic.