Timothy James

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Timothy James

Associate Professor
Associate Curator of Fungi
Lewis E. Wehmeyer and Elaine Prince Wehmeyer Professor in the Taxonomy of Fungi

Office Location(s): 1147/1008 Kraus Natural Science Building
Phone: 734.615.7753
Lab Phone: 734.763.8161
James Lab
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  • Affiliation(s)
    • U-M Herbarium
  • Fields of Study
    • Evolution of fungi, mating systems, and phylogenetics
  • About

    Academic background

    I received my Ph.D. degree from Duke University in biology in 2003. I was a postdoctoral fellow in biology at Duke University from 2003-2006, in evolutionary biology at Uppsala University from 2006-2007, and in biology at McMaster University 2008.

    Research interests

    Much of the obvious adaptive evolution in Fungi is observed in their diversification of mating systems and dispersal mechanisms. I study the evolution of sex and reproductive traits of Fungi and attempt to link these traits with phylogeny and population genetics. I am particularly interested in the intriguing phenomenon of heterokaryosis in Fungi. The heterokaryon is an alternative to diploidy in which multiple genetically different nuclei inhabit the same cell after mating occurs. I am studying genomic conflict in this system by measuring the degree to which the nuclei of a heterokaryon compete or cooperate with each other. Understanding this behavior includes investigating the role of pheromone signaling in the communication between nuclei.

    In addition, our lab is interested in the evolution of the ancient aquatic fungi known as the chytrids. Our methodology includes molecular biology, phylogenetics, and fungal cultivation. Currently I am focusing on the following three projects:

    1. Evolution of mating systems and nuclear behavior in mushroom fungi (Agaricomycetes)
    2. Molecular systematics of ancient fungal lineages
    3. Evolutionary genomics and population genetics of the chytrid fungal disease of amphibians

  • Education
    • Ph.D., Duke University, 2003
  • Research Areas of Interest
    • Evolution of fungi, mating systems, phylogenetics
  • Graduate students
    • Kevin Amses, Anat Belasen, Adolfo Gomez Delgado, Thomas Jenkinson
  • Postdoctoral fellow
    • Sujal Phadke