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Group photo of lab on patio in Fall 2022
Chung lab welcome back gathering Fall 2022

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. Busayo BabalolaBusayo photo

Postdoctoral Researcher


I am a belowground ecologist, currently working as a postdoc in Plant and Microbial Ecology Lab led by Anny Chung at the University of Georgia, Athens. I did my PhD at the Institute of Microbiology, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing in 2017-2022. Before that, I did my BSc and MSc at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria and majored in Botany and Mycology. Microbial communities are made up of distinct species that interact with one another both directly and indirectly. My research focus is understanding what makes microbial species' communities unique and how they will adapt in the face of increasing anthropogenic disturbances. In my previous research work, I explored how different microbial taxa changed over time in response to nitrogen fertilisation and reduced irrigation. I'm generally interested in theoretical ecology, species connections, biogeography, community attributes, global change factors and community allocation modelling.

Nicole BachledaPicture of Nicole

Lab manager

My passion lies in understanding the intricate relationships between plants, their microbial partners, and the soil they share. I want to explore the driving force behind how plant communities assemble, adapt to climate change, and ultimately shape the ecosystems we see. By delving into root systems, chemical signals, and the impacts of microbes, I hope to unlock some of the secrets of this hidden alliance.


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

Ecology PhD student co-advised with Nina Wurzburger


My primary research interests lie in plant-soil-microbe interactions and their potential impact on plant and soil community structure. My current interests lie in understanding how hemiparasitic plants affect nutrient cycling, aboveground plant competition, and belowground microbial community assembly.  


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. 


Logan NovakLogan photo

PBIO PhD student

I am interested in how plant-microbial interactions influence plant responses to disturbances and a changing climate. I'm interested in looking at both biological and biogeochemical processes below ground from a community ecology lens.

Grant Quinnphoto of Grant Quinn

Undergraduate research associate

I am a second year Microbiology and Applied Biotechnology double major. I am interested in how microbes can affects plants’ resilience to environmental stress, specifically with dark septate endophytes and sorghum. During my time in Dr. Chung’s lab, I hope to gain and refine valuable research skills and learn more about plant-microbe interactions.


Katherine KaneKatherine Kane photo

Undergraduate research associate

I am a fourth-year undergraduate majoring in Biology and Psychology with a minor in Spanish. I am interested in studying plant relationships, adaptations, and resistances in the context of different and changing climates and geographies. In Dr. Chung's lab, I hope to gain skills and experience in research while learning more about plant relationships and responses in different environments.

Neha vennapusaneha photo

Undergrad research associate

I am A fourth-year undergraduate majoring in Genetics with a minor in Japanese and a certificate in Bioinformatics. I am interested in studying the effects of DSE fungi on plant growth, specifically whether or not endophytic fungi can be used to confer heat and drought tolerance to cereal crops. Under the mentorship of Dr. Chung, I aim to further improve my research skills as well as my understanding of plant-fungi relationships.

Isabela Tharpisabela photo

Undergrad research associate

I am a third-year undergraduate student majoring in Plant Biology with a concentration on Plant Ecology and Environment and a minor in Environmental Health Science. I am interested in studying plant/fungi relationships and the potential for using DSE fungi to confer advantages to crops. In my time in Dr. Chung’s lab, I wish to improve my research skills, make professional connections, and learn more about the field of ecology. 

Tia Whitesidetia photo

Undergrad research associate

I am a fourth-year undergraduate Biology major and Public Health minor at UGA. I am interested in learning about plant-microbe interactions in different environmental conditions, specifically looking at DSE fungi. I am excited to learn new things, strengthen my research skills, and contribute to the Chung lab in the best way that I can!

Fiona mcelroyFiona photo

Undergraduate research associate

I am a third-year biology student with a minor in Spanish. I am interested in fungal metabolism of pyrogenic carbon and learning more about fungal ecology as a whole. I can't wait to learn more about plant-microbe interactions and improve my research skills in Dr. Chung's lab!