Meet A Plant Pathology Graduate Student: Kat Sweeney

December 30, 2015

Meet Plant Pathology Graduate Student Kat Sweeney

Kat Sweeney
PhD Student

Advisors: Melania Figueroa and Jonathan Schilling

Previous Degrees: BS Biology with a minor in Plant Biology, University of Minnesota Twin Cities 2009
MS Botany and Plant Pathology, Oregon State University 2013

Hometown: Mindem, Germany

What is your research focus?

I am trying to find out details about mechanisms used by brown rot fungi during the wood decomposition process. Mycelia differ metabolically at different stages of decomposition and in different parts of colonized wood and my research goal will be to characterize fungal processes in plants. Wood decay fungi are capable of extracting energy from plant biomass and understanding underlying mechanisms presents potential applications for biofuel research.

What are your favorite fungi? 

All of the purple species in the genus Cortinarius

What are some of your favorite hobbies?

Mushrooming, cooking, biking and hiking

What do you hope to accomplish in your time at the University of Minnesota, and what are your goals for the future? 

In the future I would like to teach at a university.