1. Staff

Carolyn Young, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Current Research

problem
The Problem

Sustainable plant production is greatly influenced by plant-associated microorganisms. Beneficial microbes enhance plant growth and improve persistence, whereas pathogens reduce production quality and quantity. Understanding the variation of microbes, especially variation in traits related to their life strategy, is critical for understanding how these associations impact their hosts.

approach
The Approach

The Mycology laboratory studies beneficial symbionts of grasses and utilizes them as value-added traits in grass cultivars. In addition, the Young laboratory dissects the interaction between the pathogens Phymatotrichopsis omnivora and Fusicladium effusum and their hosts, alfalfa and pecan, respectively.

Current Projects

Endophyte Research
  • Integration of endophytes into elite tall fescue lines
  • Endophyte prospecting: Identification of endophytes in alternative grass hosts and evaluation of beneficial traits
  • Endophyte genomics: Utilization of comparative genomics to identify symbiosis important traits within and between Epichlo√ę species
  • Enhancement by endophyte: Interplay of endophytes to benefit summer dormant tall fescue
Pathogen Research
  • Spatial and temporal development of Phymatotrichopsis root rot disease
  • Pathogen genomics: Development of genomic resources for Phymatotrichopsis omnivora and Fusicladium effusum
  • Understanding the pecan scab life cycle and disease
Education
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Molecular Biology, Massey University in Palmerston North, New Zealand, 2005
Grants

Project Title: Can Manipulation of fungal endophyte diversity positively influence tall fescue pasture sustainability and ecosystem functioning?
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute for Food and Agriculture
Term: January 2016 to December 2017

Project Title: Deciphering Neotyphodium-grass association with laser capture microscopy
Source: Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology
Term: March 2010 to March 2012

Honors
  • Editor-in-chief of Phytobiomes (American Phytopathological Society journal), 2016-2019
  • Associate editor of Mycologia (Mycological Society of America journal), 2014-2016
Patents
  • Young, et al., Fungal endophytes of Elymus canadensis. U.S. Patent No. 7,892,813 (issued Feb 22, 2011).
  • Scott, et al., Nucleic acids and polypeptides for production of an indole diterpene, enzyme, intermediate or other chemical compounds associated with the indole diterpene biosynthetic pathway in grass. NZ530331 (filed Dec 22, 2003).