Kennedy Lab - Spring 2021


Kennedy Lab - Spring 2019 (including affiliate members)

Kennedy Lab - Fall 2016

Peter Kennedy

Professor, Department of Plant & Microbial Biology

1479 Gortner Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55108

Office: 810 Biological Sciences - Phone: 612-624-8519 - Email:

Graduate Students & Post-docs

Katie Beidler, Post-doc

Office: 808 BioSci - Email:

Anahi Cantoran, Graduate student 

Office: 804 BioSci - Email:

Lang Delancey, Graduate student (co-advised with Sarah Hobbie)

Office: 510 Ecology - Email:

Talia Michaud, Graduate Student

Office: 804 Biological Sciences - Email:

Achala Narayanan, Graduate Student

Office: 804 Biological Sciences - Email:

Achala Narayana image

Dyonishia (Nishia) Nieves, Graduate Student

Office: 808 Biological Sciences - Email:

Eduardo Pérez-Pazos, Graduate Student

Office: 810 Biological Sciences - Email:

Undergraduate Researchers

Briana Beatty joined the lab in January 2021 - she is currently working on a UROP and senior thesis project focused on bacterial-fungal interactions on decomposing fungal necromass..

Please contact Peter if you are interested in joining our group.

Lab Manager

Klara Peterson image

Klara Peterson joined the lab in January 2022 as joint lab manager for the Kennedy and Hobbie labs.

Previous Lab Members

Catherine Glenn-Stone

Catherine worked in the lab in Summer 2022 as a member of the Itasca ForestGEO plot census team. 

Erica Houser

Erica worked in the lab in Summer 2022 as a member of the Itasca ForestGEO plot census team. 

Hakeem Hashari

Hakeeem worked in the lab in Summer 2022 doing all kinds of things, mostly related to necromass ecology in collaboration with Eduardo. 

Benjamin Tanner 

Benjamin worked in the lab in Summer 2021. He worked on the Itasca ForestGEO plot and collected data for his undergraduate senior thesis at Whitman College.

Kelcie Paige-Walther

Kelcie visited the lab in Summer 2021, where she collected data for her undergrad thesis at Columbia University.

Caro Silvola 

Caro completed a UROP working with Peter and Talia examining C and N isotopes of MN plant and fungal herbarium collections in Spring 2022.

François Maillard

François was a post-doc on the lab from 2019-2022 and co-advised by Jonathan Schilling. François worked on many projects focused on organic matter decomposition and microbial community dynamics.  

Craig See

Craig was the second Ph.D. student in the Kennedy lab and co-advised by Sarah Hobbie. He worked on a wide range of topics united by his broad interests in organic matter decomposition and soil carbon and nitrogen cycling.  Craig is now a post-doc in the Schuur lab at Northern Arizona University.

Joe Gagne

Joe Gagne joined the lab in 2018 and worked on a wide range of fungal-related projects through two successful UROP awards. He also carried out a CBS undergraduate honor's thesis examining how competitive ability contributed to the anomalous host associations of Suillus subaureus.

Yue-Hua Hu

Yue-Hua was a visiting scholar in the lab from November 2018 to October 2019.  Yue-Hua and Peter collaborated with Zewei Song and other colleagues to study the fungal diversity in a series of large-scale forest dynamics plots in China.  Yue-Hua is also a co-PI on the Itasca ForestGeo Project.

Lotus Lofgren

Lotus was the first Ph.D. student in the Kennedy lab.  Lotus worked on a variety of topics, bridging her dual passions for fungal ecology and genomics.  She is now a post-doc in the Stajich lab at the University of California, Riverside.

Hannah Vanderscheuren

Hannah worked in the lab in summer 2019 as a undergraduate research assistant after completing her first year at UW Madison. She spend time working on various projects, but focused mainly on getting lots of litter bags filled with all kinds of different organic matter types for some new research on the "Gadgil Effect" at Cedar Creek.

Amanda Certano

Amanda worked in the lab twice - first an undergraduate research volunteer in 2015 and then as a lab technician from 2016-2019.  She carried out the big Suillus genomics push from Kennedy lab and also worked on many other projects, including her own study of the effect of mycelial morphology of fungal necromass decomposition that was published in 2018. She is now a research scientist at Soil Carbon Co.

Emma Daily

Emma joined the lab for the summer of 2018 from Macalester College to work on the ecology of Frankia bacteria in a collaboration with Dr. Mike Anderson. In addition to lots of PCRs and sequencing, Emma assisted on multiple field visits to Cedar Creek to deploy and recover mycorrhizal necromass.  

Lauren Cline 

Lauren was a member of the lab from 2015-2017. She was the recipient of a NSF post-doctoral fellowship to study the isotopic composition of mushrooms and plant specimens in the Bell Museum herbarium collections.  She also worked on a number of additional projects, including characterizing the patterns of fungal community assembly during wood decomposition as well as optimizing various bioinformatic approaches used in fungal ecology. She is currently a research scientist at Monsanto.

Chris Fernandez

Chris was a post-doc in the lab from 2014-2018. His primary focus was studying the contributions of fungal communities to ecosystem carbon and nutrient cycling.  This included considerable work on the "Gadgil Effect" as well as the decomposition of mycorrhizal mycelium in forest soil carbon and nitrogen cycles.  His research was conducted at multiple sites in Minnesota including the SPRUCE experiment at Marcell Experimental Forest and Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve.  Chris is now an adjunct faculty member at Minnesota State Mankato teaching courses in soil ecology and general biology.

Luke McCormack

Luke was a research associate in the lab for 2+ years. His expertise in root ecology added many new research ideas and projects to the lab.  Most recently, he led the team up with researchers at Clemson University to study how mycorrhizal colonization effects on fine root decomposition. In September 2018, he began a position as a research scientist at the Morton Arboretum in Illinois.

Erin Andrews

Erin joined the lab in spring 2016 and worked with Chris Fernandez generating mycorrhizal biomass and building litter bags for the 2016 field season at Cedar Creek. In 2017, she won a UROP to conduct her own research on fungal necromass decomposition across the forest-grassland border at Cedar Creek.  She also worked with Lauren Cline generating isotope data from Bell herbarium samples in summer 2017.  After graduating, she worked for a year as a technician in Jonathan Schilling's lab.

Emily Schommer

Emily joined the lab as a volunteer in spring 2017 and worked with Lotus Lofgren examining spore germination capacity in Suillus with compatible and non-compatible hosts.  She conducted a directed research project on the same topic in fall 2017 and recently applied to medical school.

Sam Willard

Sam worked with Craig See characterizing the colonization of Helianthemum bicknelli plants by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in spring 2017. He now works in the Schilling lab at UMN and preparing for grad school.

Obi Wamuo

Obi joined the lab from the University of Chicago, where is an undergraduate student majoring in biology.  He was involved in all kinds of projects over the summer from trialing the DADA2 pipeline to HTS library prep of tropical forest soils from Puerto Rico, Colombia, Mexico, and Costa Rica. 

Caroline Daws

Caroline joined the lab in fall 2016 for a year as an EEB graduate student. She returned to Stanford in fall 2017 to work on her Ph.D. with Kabir Peay. While at UMN, she worked on examining the fungal and bacterial communities in soils from Scientific and Natural Areas across the state of Minnesota.

Ying Han

Ying was a visiting professor from China who worked in the lab for 18 months. She helped on many projects, including the B4Warmed ectomycorrhizal fungal study, the Quercus root common garden study, and the Larix-Ledum-Picea study.  

Alex Tang

Alex was an undergraduate genetics major with a passion for fungi. He worked with Lauren Cline in spring 2016 on a variety of lab projects ranging from microcosm construction to soil core DNA extraction and ultimately conducted his own UROP sponsored research on mushroom isotope composition.  He is currently applying to medical school.

Eva Carlson

Eva joined the lab in fall 2015 and worked with Luke McCormack and Matt Kaproth (Cavender-Bares lab) on a project examining changes in root traits across a broad suite of temperate and tropical Quercus seedlings.  She was awarded a UROP award to conduct this work and is currently in pharmacy school.

Louis Mielke

Louis joined the lab in spring 2015 as a UROP-sponsored student.  His initial research focused on the effects of Ledum (Rhododendron) groenlandicum on the germination of ectomycorrhizal tree seedlings. In spring 2016, he worked on a project examining changes in ectomycorrhizal and ericoid fungal communities in a greenhouse experiment including Larix laricina, Picea mariana, and Ledum groenlandicum.  After working on many other projects, included the B4Warmed study, he recently joined Karina Clemmensen's lab in Uppsala, Sweden to conduct his doctoral research.

Nhu Nguyen

Nhu was the first post-doc in the lab and got all kinds of research going at UMN, particularly using HTS techniques to characterize fungal communities.  He also generated a diverse fungal culture collection, with a bias towards his favorite fungal genera, Suillus. After his time in Minnesota, he was a post-doc in Mary Firestone's lab at UC Berkeley and then became an assistant professor in the Department of Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences at the University of Hawaii in fall 2016.

Julia Higgins

Julia the first tech in the lab at UMN and was also an undergraduate student with Peter at Lewis & Clark College.  She was involved in many different projects, with the majority focusing on some aspect of the chemistry in involved in mycorrhizal ecology. Her undergraduate thesis on Alnus-Frankia-ECM interactions was published in 2014 in Fungal Ecology.  She is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of British Colombia studying microbial ecology and spending lots of time outdoors.

Natalie Pierson

Natalie volunteered in the lab as an undergraduate student in 2013, learning a range of basic lab research techniques.  In particular, she constructed lots of the in-growth bags used to look at ectomycorrhizal fungal communities across experimental nitrogen gradients at Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve.

Blake Boeing

Blake worked on sequencing mushroom specimens from various habitats in Minnesota in 2013-2014 as an undergraduate student. The data generated will be used to match environmental DNA sequences to named specimens, a crucial step to better understanding fungal community ecology.

Cher Ling Tong

Cher joined the lab as an HHMI undergraduate research student in 2015. She learned how to prepare a high throughput sequencing library of bog fungi associated with roots of ectomycorrhizal trees and ericaceous shrubs. She presented a poster on the topic in spring 2015.

Waogwende Léonce Song Naba

Léonce joined the lab as an HHMI undergraduate research student in 2015. He did a directed research and presented poster on connecting the hyphal presence below ground to mushroom presence aboveground in spring 2015.

Abigail Awode

Abigail joined the lab as a directed study student study in fall 2015.  She worked with Julia Huggins on a project exploring the effects of different nitrogen sources (organic vs. inorganic) on the growth a suite of ectomycorrhizal Paxillus species.

Adam Busacker

Adam joined the lab as a volunteer in summer 2015 and worked with Chris Fernandez examining litter decomposition and fungal fruitbody production in a field experiment at Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve.  He also worked with Julia Huggins exploring the chemical nature of competition among ectomycorrhizal and saprotrophic fungi in fall 2015.

Andrea Nelson

Andrea joined the lab as a volunteer in summer 2015 and stayed on as a directed research student in fall 2015.  She has worked on characterizing the nature of chemical interactions among ectomycorrhizal fungi when growing in pure culture settings.