Susan joined the lab in Spring 2012 and spent two strong years driving our research into the comparative evolutionary biology of plant viruses.  She worked as part of an NSF funded team on Assembling, Visualizing and Analyzing the Tree of Life (AVAToL), particularly developing a test case in plant virus evolution that will enable us to compare evolutionary trends of co-diversification, plant-virus interactions, functional evolution and adaptation, and rates of molecular diversification at the interface of plant-virus interactions.  As a Microbiology student, Susan's research on Banana Streak Virus, a badnavirus that lives within the banana genome and emerges to infect the host plant under a variety of (stressful) conditions including tissue culture and hybridization, directly tested the role of epigenetic mechanisms in viral emergence and persistence in the plant genome.

In Summer 2014, Susan's love for viruses and her itch to study functional genetics of host/virus interactions provided her with incentive to move to Matt Welch's lab, where she will form part of his baculovirus team (see  Susan was awarded a Hellman Graduate Fellowship and will take this fellowship with her to the Welch Lab.  We wish her luck, and promise to keep watch over her beloved baby bananas.