Contact Information:
Kathleen Pryer
Department of Biology
Duke University
Durham, NC 27707-0338
Telephone: 919-660-7380

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Dr. Kathryn Picard!

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Sept. 8, 2017: Could anyone look happier!?

Congratulations to our very own KP (the other one...)! And so very well-deserved!

Kathryn arrived at Duke with a bounty of competitive fellowships – and she garnered every top-notch award while she was here! And now she is Dr. Picard!  Kathryn is passionate about both teaching and research, and has excelled at both.The marine fungal critters that were the focus of her dissertation could not have had a stronger advocate! You GO, GIRL!

Picard, K.T. 2017. Next-Generation Approaches to Understanding the Diversity and Evolution of Marine Fungi. Ph.D. Dissertation, Duke University.

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Will Do Science for $$

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 Congratulations to our latest grant awardees!

To close out 2016, Tzu-Tong has received a NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant and Ariana got a Sigma Xi Grant-in-Aid. Many exciting fern stories coming your way soon from these two.

Congratulations again!

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Oh Happy Day!

Tzu-Tong is now officially a PhD Candidate! Hooray! Congrats to "Stone"!, and looking forward to results from "Evolution and Function of Farina in Notholaenid Ferns". Check out his awesome crown of N. standleyi

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Fay-Wei marvels in a minute

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Fay-Wei gives us a one-minute tour on why we should study fern genomes and how he used the Monster Kick-Ass Machine to do it. 

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Botany 2016 was a success!

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 The Pryer lab made its presence felt at this year's Botany conference, held in Savannah, GA. Below are a list of the talks presented by current and former members of the lab:

  • A case of mistaken identity revealed as a new species of Cheilanthes s.s.(Pteridaceae). 

              Sosa, Karla; Windham, Michael D.; Huiet, Layne; Yatskievych, George A.; Pryer, Kathleen.

  • A small new genus uniting surprisingly disparate cheilanthoid ferns (Pteridaceae). 

              Pryer, Kathleen; Windham, Michael D.; Huiet, Layne; Rothfels, Carl.

  • Toward a community-derived classification for lycopods and ferns. 

              Schuettpelz, Eric; Schneider, Harald.

  • Next-generation polyploid phylogenetics: Low-cost, high-throughput resolution of hybrid polyploid complexes using PacBio and PURC. 

              Rothfels, Carl; Pryer, Kathleen; Li, Fay-Wei.

  • Consistently inconsistent: Transcriptome data reveal widespread molecular evolutionary rate asymmetry in ferns. 

              Grusz, Amanda; Schuettpelz, Eric.

  • Phase-Specific Gene Expression in the Homosporous Fern Polypodium amorphum

              Sigel, Erin; Schuettpelz, Eric; Der, Joshua.

  • Insider trading: Understanding nutrient exchange in the Azolla-Nostoc symbiosis. 

              Eily, Ariana; Li, Fay-Wei; Gile, Gillian; Pryer, Kathleen.

  • Fern genomes on the horizon. 

             Li, Fay-Wei.

The Fern Bus continues to push the frontiers of fern knowledge forward!

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Layne Huiet describes a new species of Maidenhair fern in California!

Huiet, L., M. Lenz, J.K. Nelson, K.M. Pryer, and A.R. Smith. 2015. Adiantum shastense, a new species of maidenhair fern from California.  Phytokeys 53: 73-81.

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Dr. Fay-Wei Li !! Congratulations!

On 1 April 2015, Fay-Wei defended his thesis

Seeing the Light: The Origin and Evolution of Plant Photoreceptors

and WOWED his Dissertation Committee: Kathleen M. Pryer, Chair, Meng Chen and Sönke Johnsen (Duke); Corbin Jones (UNC, Biology); Sarah Mathews (Centre for Australian National Biodiversity Research, Australia).

Dr. Li is now working as a "double postdoc" at UC-Berkeley and Duke on fern genomics! Stay tuned...

His 3 dissertations chapters are already all published:

Li, F.-W., C.J. Rothfels, M. Melkonian, J.C. Villarreal, D.W. Stevenson, S.W. Graham, G.K.-S. Wong, S. Mathews, and K.M. Pryer. 2015. The origin and evolution of phototropins. Frontiers in Plant Science 6: 637. doi:10.3389/fpls.2015.00637

Li, F.-W., M. Melkonian, C.J. Rothfels, J.C. Villareal, D.W. Stevenson, S.W. Graham, G.K.-S. Wong, K.M. Pryer, and S. Mathews.  2015. Phytochrome diversity in green plants and the origin of canonical plant phytochromes. Nature Communications 6: 7852. 

Li, F.-W., J.C. Villarreal, S. Kelly, C.J. Rothfels, M. Melkonian, E. Frangedakis, M. Ruhsam, E.M. Sigel, J.P. Der, J. Pittermann, D.O. Burge, L. Pokorny, A. Larsson, T. Chen, S. Weststrand, P. Thomas, E. Carpenter, Y. Zhang, Z. Tian, L. Chen, Z. Yan, Y. Zhu, X. Sun, J. Wang, D.W. Stevenson, B.J. Crandall-Stotler, A.J. Shaw, M.K. Deyholos, D.E. Soltis, S.W. Graham, M.D. Windham, J.A. Langdale, G. K.-S. Wong, S. Mathews, and K.M. Pryer. 2014. Horizontal transfer of an adaptive chimeric photoreceptor from bryophytes to ferns. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 111: 6672-6677. 


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Tags: Fay-Wei Li
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Sex after 60 (million years)

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 Lab alum Dr. Carl Rothfels publishes provocative paper in American Naturalist. Check out the story on NPR!

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Erin Sigel, New PhD!!!

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Erin knocked it waaaay out of the park on July 11, 2014! Fantastic work Erin, and congratulations on your Peter Buck Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Smithsonian!

Erin's Dissertation: A Next-Generation Approach to Systematics in the Classic Reticulate Polypodium vulgare Species Complex (Polypodiaceae)
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Azolla crowdfunding success!

 We did it!  Thank you so much to our 123 crowdfunders + BGI!

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 Read all about it here!

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Azolla crowdfunding project launched!

 Let's sequence a fern genome together! Check it out here

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Horizontal gene transfer

Li, et al2014. Horizontal transfer of an adaptive chimeric photoreceptor from bryophytes to ferns. PNAS
     MEDIA COVERAGENew York TimesThe EconomistNational GeographicCosmos Magazine, Duke Today, Scientific AmericanDecoded Science, Nature Reviews Genetics
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Fay-Wei awarded NSF DDIG!

Congratulations to Fay-Wei for his success in the 2013-2014 NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant (DDIG) competition! DISSERTATION RESEARCH: Assessing the Evolutionary Significance of Recurrent Horizontal Gene Transfer of a Chimeric Photoreceptor in Ferns

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Amanda Grusz, Ph.D.!!!

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Congratulations Amanda - our newly minted Ph.D!  On March 25, Amanda successfully defended her dissertation to her Ph.D. committee (Pryer, Advisor; Donohue, Mitchell-Olds, Noor, and Windham). Graduation day on May 10!   ... then Amanda embarks on a posdoc at the Smithsonian Institution in DC.  We will miss you Amanda!

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Paul Wolf (Utah State) joins us for his sabbatical!

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Tzu-Tong Kao joins the lab!

Welcome to Tzu-Tong Kao (高資棟), new Ph.D. student from Taiwan

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Fay-Wei passes prelims! - now a PhD Candidate!

October 2012  Fay-Wei passed his prelims with flying colors (from red to blue ... and everything in-between!).  His committee (Pryer, Meng Chen, Sönke Johnson, Corbin Jones, Sarah Mathews) was wowed by his defense of " Seeing the light: the origin and evolution of a chimeric phororeceptor".

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Fern Lab goes GAGA!

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October 2012

 Nineteen Species of Fern Named for Lady Gaga

  Read about it in DukeToday

        Also, a YouTube video of Lady Gaga's performance at the 2010 Grammys, which helped inspire this naming honor, may be found HERE 


Lady Gaga was honored by Duke University biologists. Kathleen Pryer and colleagues named a new genus of ferns found in Central and South America, Mexico, Arizona and Texas after the pop music megastar. A genus is a group of closely related species; in this case, 19 species of ferns will carry the name Gaga. At one stage of its life, the new genus Gaga has fluid definitions of gender and bears a striking resemblance to one of Gaga's famous costumes. Members of the new genus also bear a distinct DNA sequence spelling GAGA.

Read more HERE

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Carl Rothfels successfully defends Ph.D. !!

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September 2012

Congratulations to Carl - our newly minted Ph.D. - who gave a great seminar ["Phylogenetics of Cystopteridaceae: Reticulation and Divergence in a Cosmopolitan Fern Family"] to the Systematics Group on the morning of August 27, and later that afternoon successfully defended his Ph.D. to his committee (Pryer, Advisor; Mitchell-Olds, Roth, Swofford, and Windham). Celebrations and much relief ensued (witness Carl in photo #2 above)!  On August 31, the dissertation was submitted to the Graduate School, and in January 2013 Carl heads to the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada to embark on a prestigious postdoctoral fellowship awarded by NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada). But he is still with us through the fall - yeah!

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Duke Undergrad Anne Johnson has first research publication

June 2012

 Pryer Lab Undergrad Anne Johnson has first research paper published in American Journal of Botany.  

Congratulations Anne!

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