The Mason Hale Award for 2014 is given to Tami McDonald for her thesis “Genomic insights into the lichen symbiosis: Cladonia grayi as a model lichen” which she produced at Duke University under the main supervision of François Lutzoni.
Tami McDonald’s thesis includes pioneering and ground-breaking work applying genomics to the understanding of gene expression and function in lichen fungi (in this process generating genomic data from eight lichens), and researching gene regulation mechanisms in the lichen symbiotic system (in particular, the evolution of ammonium transporter genes and their role in enabling interactions between myco- and photobionts).
This thesis has potentially far- reaching implications and her studies are clearly of fundamental interest to life sciences in general as well as lichenology. It is the result of very hard work under what have sometimes been difficult circumstances, as innovative and ground breaking work often is.
On behalf of the Committee (Peter Crittenden, Louise Lindblom and Mats Wedin) and the IAL Council, I wish to congratulate Tami, wish her all the best for her future career!
– Mats Wedin, Stockholm