UGA Plant Pathology Blog

Plant Pathology Undergraduate Research Students Succeeding in Research

Senior Brandan Fatzinger working in the lab.

UGA Plant Pathology is home to productive faculty, staff, and graduate students but our undergraduate research students are successful as well.  Brendan Fatzinger, a senior majoring in Horticulture with an Organic Agriculture Certificate, was recently awarded a CURO Research Assistantship for Spring 2017.  Brendan is working with Dr. Elizabeth Little on a project entitled “Effectors of microbe activators in an organic agricultural system.”  Brendan plans to assess the effectiveness of specific homeopathic preparations on soil microbiological activity and plant health.  When asked what he would like to say about his undergraduate research experience, he responded with “Dr. Elizabeth Little in the Plant Pathology Department has been instrumental in my growth as a researcher, providing me with the opportunity to learn lab procedures and experimental design in a distinctly professional context. This experience has no doubt increased my probability of success in my future graduate studies and I am beyond grateful for it.”  Brendan presented his work at the 2017 CURO Symposium on April 3-4, 2017.


Thomas Gottilla working in the greenhouse.

A second UGA Plant Pathology undergraduate research student is Thomas Gottilla.  Thomas was introduced to Plant Pathology as a high school student via the CAES pre-collegiate programs, Georgia Plant Science Scholars and Young Scholars.  As a 3rd year Applied Biotechnology Major with an emphasis in Plant Science, he has been conducting undergraduate research in Dr. Marin Brewer’s laboratory since he began his college career.  Last spring, Thomas won 4th place for his presentation on evolution of mating-type genes in gummy stem blight fungi at the CAES Undergraduate Research Symposium.  This spring, Thomas is conducting experiments to optimize inoculation procedures for Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. vasinfectum on cotton, which was selected to be funded as part of the CAES Undergraduate Research Initiative.  He is also participating in sequence analysis of specimens from the State Botanical Gardens as part of a larger outreach project in the lab.  When asked what he has learned from his undergraduate research experience, he responded with “I am really thankful to have to opportunity to participate in undergraduate research. It has taught me a lot and allowed me to apply skills that I learned in class. It has also strongly contributed to my career decisions.” Thomas presented his work at the CAES Undergraduate Symposium on April 12, 2017 was selected as one of the winners in the oral presentation.  This was Thomas 3rd consecutive win with the CAES Undergraduate Symposium.