Current lab members

Jim Picture.jpg

Rebecca McCulley

Professor & Chair, Dept. of Plant & Soil Sciences

Curriculum Vitae


Jim Nelson

Research Scientist I



Elizabeth Carlisle

Research Analyst


Alayna Jacobs

Ph.D. Student



Lab Manager Extraordinaire


Cork Oak in Portugal

Cork Oak in Portugal


Past Graduate Students and Post-Doctoral Scholars

Mahtaab adventuring in the American west.

Mahtaab adventuring in the American west.

Lindsey and Nami

Lindsey and Nami

Becca in Peru.

Glade at the climate change project

Glade at the climate change project

Sarah in a restored grassland

Sarah in a restored grassland

Mahtaab Bagherzadeh (M.S. 2018)

  • Fungal endophyte diversity influences on tall fescue pasture sustainability and ecosystem function.

  • Currently working as a River Basin Coordinator for the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet.

Lindsey Slaughter (Ph.D. 2016)

  • Nitrogen fixation dynamics of bacterial communities associated with tall fescue plants, both adjacent to red clover and free-living.

  • Colonization of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) on roots of tall fescue.

  • Response of AMF colonization to climate change and fescue genotype.

  • Currently an Assistant Professor at Texas Tech University.

 Becca Shelton (M.S. 2015)

  • Nitrogen dynamics and loss in conventionally and organically managed conservation agriculture systems with wheat and hairy vetch cover crops.

  • Currently working towards a Ph.D. in Sustainability at Arizona State University.

Dan Weber  (M.S. 2014) 

  • Slug herbivory and climate change in tall fescue pastures. Trace gas emissions in turf systems.

  • Worked as Lab Coordinator in the Biology Department at UK.

  • Currently working as Sanitation Coordinator at Champion Pet Foods, Russellville, KY.

Marie Bourguignon  (M.S. 2013)

  • Ecophysiological responses of tall fescue genotypes to endophyte infection and climate change.

  • Ph.D. at Iowa State University, Ames, IA

  • Currently a Technology Development Representative for the Mid-Atlantic Region at Seminis.

Ben Leffew  (former master's student)

  • Efficacy of cool-season pasture renovation to native prairie in the bluegrass bluegrass region of central Kentucky.

  • Currently the Assistant Property Manager at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, Harrodsburg, KY

Javed Iqbal  (Post-Doctoral Scholar, 2009-2011)

  • Currently a Post-Doctoral Scholar at Iowa State University

Cody Burton  (M.S. 2011)

  • Effects of long-term cattle grazing and vegetation type on soil microbial communities in dryland systems.

  • Currently working as an environmental consultant in Kansas.

Sarah Hall  (Ph.D. 2011)

  • Restoration of tall fescue pastures to native warm-season grasslands: Does a fungal endophyte symbiosis play a role in restoration success?

  • Associate Professor & Chair, Plant and Soil Sciences, Berea College, Berea, KY.

Glade Brosi  (M.S. 2011) 

  • The response of tall fescue and its fungal endophyte to climate change.

  • Formerly Research & Development for Stemilt Growers, Wenatchee, WA

  • Currently PNW Manager, WISERG, a startup that makes organic fertilizer from food waste

Jacob Siegrest  (M.S. 2008)

  • The endophyte effect: ecosystem consequences of the tall fescue-fungal endophyte symbiosis.

  • Employed by the US Army Corp of Engineers, Huntington, WV

Past Lab Personnel 

Ellen Green Research Technician(2016-18)

  • UK Natural Resources Conservation & Sustainability (2016)

Bridget Reed Research Technician (2017-18)

  • UK Horticulture (2016)

  • Currently in charge of greenhouse operations at Polly Hill Arboretum on Martha's Vineyard, MA

Lin Dong Visiting Chinese PhD student (2015)

Pierre Mas ENESAD, Dijon, France (2015)

Anna Joy Thompson Howard Hughes Medical Institute Scholar (2015)

  • Georgetown College (2016)

Michael Hurak Undergraduate Student Worker (2014)

  • Sustainable Agriculture, University of Kentucky

Jihan Ahmed  Research Technician (2011-2013)

Luke Box Undergraduate Student Worker (2011-2013)

  • Bluegrass Community and Technical College

Eric Kalosa-Kenyon--Suburban Ecology and Invasive Species REU (2013)

  • Brown University (2015)

  • Investigation of the relationships between mycorrhizae, tall fescue, and its fungal endophyte.

  • Computational Research Associate at Indigo

  • Currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Mathematical Statistics at UC Davis.

Dawn DeColibus--Suburban Ecology and Invasive Species REU (2012).

  • B.S. Ohio Northern University (2013).

  • Investigation of the tall fescue-fungal endophyte symbiosis in native grassland restoration.

  • M.S. in Ecology at Ball State University (2015)

  • Currently a Water Quality Planner with NEFCO in Columbus, OH.

Davis Jackson Undergraduate Student Worker

  • B.S. Plant and Soil Science, University of Kentucky (2012)

Dr. Nazia Nahid  Research Specialist (2010-2011)

Marlène Erst  ENESAD, Dijon, France (2011)

Allison Cooke  Undergraduate Research

  • B.S. Biology, Transylvania University, 2011.

  • Does climate change affect forage quality of Kentucky pastures?

  • Currently a PhD candidate in Pathobiology and Molecular Medicine at the University of Cincinnati

Katie Harvey REU (2010)

  • B.S. Univ of KY, 2011.

  • Understanding the drivers of dryland decomposition in the desert southwest.

Alex Breton  ENESAD, Dijon, France (2010)

Jarred Earnest  Undergraduate Research

  • B.S. Chemistry, Asbury College, 2010.

  • Climate change effects on plant biomass production in a managed hayfield in central Kentucky.

Payton May  Undergraduate Student Worker (2010)

  • B.S. Architecture, Univ. of Kentucky

Brian Bennett Undergraduate Research

  • B.S. Biology/Secondary Education, Asbury College, 2008.

  • Tall fescue endophyte infection frequency in managed, native grassland restorations.

Dr. Maria Almagro-Bonmati  Visiting Scholar, CEBAS-CSIC, Murcia, Spain

Jessica Ballard Undergraduate Student Worker 

  • B.S. Sustainable Agriculture, Univ. of Kentucky, 2009

Katie Routt Undergraduate Student Worker

  • B.S. Ag Biotechnology, Univ. of Kentucky, 2009

Amael Gy ENESAD, Dijon, France (2009)

Rachel Smith  Undergraduate Student Worker

  • University of Manitoba, Class of 2013.



Pierre and Anna Joy

Pierre and Anna Joy

Allison sieving soil

Allison sieving soil

Marlene at Hall's Prairie NutNet site

Marlene at Hall's Prairie NutNet site

Jihan working on lipid analysis.

Jihan working on lipid analysis.

Sorting biomass samples at the climate change project

Sorting biomass samples at the climate change project

Luke at Hall's Prairie NutNet site

Luke at Hall's Prairie NutNet site

Lab Group, 2010  Back (L-R) Rebecca McCulley, Marie Bourguignon, Cody Burton, Glade Brosi, Jim Nelson  Front: Katie Harvey, Elizabeth Carlisle, Sarah Hall

Lab Group, 2010

Back (L-R) Rebecca McCulley, Marie Bourguignon, Cody Burton, Glade Brosi, Jim Nelson

Front: Katie Harvey, Elizabeth Carlisle, Sarah Hall