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About Tami McDonald, PhD

Tami McDonald is a microbiologist and evolutionary geneticist specializing in the evolution of symbioses in fungi, plants and bacteria. She employs techniques from phylogenetics, genetics, genomics, epigenetics and molecular biology to understand nutrient exchange molecules and pathways. Her work focuses on the transport of nitrogen and carbon between symbiotic partners. Since joining the faculty in 2014, Dr. McDonald has welcomed student collaborators to participate in independent projects related to reconstructing the evolutionary history of a protein family responsible for the transport of ammonium across cell membranes as well as other projects relating to nutrient transport and symbiotic life.

Positions

Present Associate Professor, St. Catherine University Biology Department
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2014 - 2019 Assistant Professor, St. Catherine University Biology Department
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2012 - 2014 Post-doctoral associate, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
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Grants

2021 - Present What makes a lichen? Evolution and ecology of fungal-algal symbioses across marine and freshwater environments
Wellcome Sanger Institute
Aquatic Symbiosis Genomes Project
Role: Co-PI
Colleague(s): Nick Talbot, Klara Scharnagl, Daniel Stanton, Claudia Colesia, Sergio Perez Ortega, Tami McDonald, Peter Nelsen
2018 - Present Acquisition of a fluorescence microscope to grow research and training of women from diverse multicultural and economic backgrounds at St. Catherine University
NSF - DBI-1827514
NSF Major Research Instrumentation Grant
Role: Co-PI
Colleague(s): Paula Furey, Andrea Kalis, Kathleen Tweeten
$118,176
2019 - 2020 Course Development: Fungal Biology and Ecology
St. Catherine University
Curriculum Development Grant
Role: PI
2019 - 2020 Evolution of Carbon Transport in Lichens (with Margaret Piecz)
3M / St. Catherine University
3M STEM Grant
Role: PI
2019 - 2019 Localization of an ammonium transporter protein within Marchantia polymorpha, a liverwort, utilizing a YFP fusion protein
3M / St Catherine University
3M STEM Grant
Role: PI
2017 - 2018 Comparative transcriptomics to investigate carbon and nitrogen exchange in the lichen symbiosis
St. Catherine University
APDC
Role: PI
$6,325
2017 - 2017 Project: Cloning and Electrophysiology of Ammonium Transporters from Marchantia and Anabaena
3M / St. Catherine University
3M STEM Grant
Role: PI
2016 - 2017 Characterization of Ammonium Transporters from the Model Plant Marchantia
3M / St. Catherine University
3M STEM grant
Role: PI
2015 - 2016 Investigating the evolutionary history of ammonium transport genes
St. Catherine University
APDC
Role: PI
$7,500
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Professional Service and Affiliations

2018 - Present University Assessment Committee, St. Catherine University
2015 - Present Beta Beta Beta Biology Honor Society (Gamma Alpha Chapter), Co-chair, St. Catherine University
2015 - Present Department Assessment Co-Lead, St. Catherine University, Department of Biology
2015 - 2018 Membership Committee, Mycological Society of America
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Honors and Awards

  • International Association of Lichenology. (2014). Mason Hale Dissertation award, presented once every three years in an international competition for the best Ph.D. dissertation concerning lichens.

Courses

  • Contemporary Biology: Epigenetics
  • Fungal Biology and Ecology
  • Biology of Microorganisms
  • Senior Seminar
  • Introduction to Microbiology
  • Foundations of Biology I

Education

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2011 Ph.D., Biology, Duke University
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2000 Master of Science, Plant Biology, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
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Publications (17)

Presentations (18)