Sunshine Van Bael

Dr. Sunshine Van Bael’s laboratory studies community ecology with emphases on symbioses and plant-animal interactions. Broadly, we are interested in how plants, animals and fungi become involved in symbioses with other organisms to feed themselves and defend themselves from enemies. We are involved in projects in Panama and in the southeastern US that include microbial ecology, chemical ecology, biodiversity conservation, coastal restoration and agroecology.

Candice Lumibao

Candice Lumibao is a post-doctoral scholar in the Van Bael lab studying the community ecology of fungal symbionts in two coastal plants, Spartina alterniflora and Taxodium distichum. Her work includes understanding the response of fungal communities to petroleum contamination in salt marsh plants and soil. This work builds on her previous accomplishments studying fungal communities in grasses, as well as investigating how trees were influenced by climate change in the past. For more information, visit Candice’s website.

Lorena Torres Martinez

Lorena holds the Koch Postdoctoral Teaching Fellowship in Tulane's Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Along with teaching Plant Biology and a course on bioinformatics, Lorena is conducting research in the Van Bael lab centering on how inundation influences baldcypress symbiont communities. This builds on her Ph.D. research that focused on plant population ecology and climate change. You can read more about her research at her website.

Peter Tellez

Peter Tellez is a Ph.D. student who studies interactions between leaf characteristics and endophyte communities in tropical forest plants. His research interests also include insect-plant-fungal interactions, chemical ecology, and bacterial symbionts of Spartina alterniflora in Louisiana.

Elizabeth Kimbrough

Elizabeth Kimbrough is a Ph.D. student who studies bacterial and fungal endophytes of baldcypress throughout the southeastern US.
Her research interests also include tropical ecology, coastal restoration, botany, lichens, bryophytes and conservation biology. For more from Liz, check out her writing webpage.

Stephen Formel

Steve Formel is a Ph.D. student who studies bacterial and fungal endophytes of coastal plants. His research interests include plant-endophyte interactions, coastal wetlands and restoration, microscopy, RNA regulation, and a little bit of everything else.

Mareli Sanchez

Mareli Sanchez is a Ph.D. student interested in how fungal endophytes and root mycorrhizal fungi help non-halophytic plants deal with salinity stress, as well as the role of mycorrhizal fungi in forest restoration. Broadly, her research interests are tropical ecology, wetland ecology, mycology, biogeography, and soil biochemistry.

Erin Chapman

Erin Chapman is a Master’s student in Environmental Science. Her passion is conservation biology with a focus on landscape ecology. She has worked with herpetology, ornithology, and botany. She hopes to make the planet a better place for its organisms through ecological land management.

Undergraduates 2015

From left to right; Jennifer Janowsky, Lina Tran, Amelia Lourmand, Rebecca Wang, Courtney Pellegrini, Mallory Kiefer (not pictured: Becca Flournoy, Stephen Cortese, Ivana Levy, Emma Darr)

Undergraduates 2016

From left to right; Caroline Faircloth, Emma Weisner, Ian Sestak, Clare Lister, Emma Darr, Rachel Froehlich, Rebecca Wang, Miranda Henrix. Not pictured: Max Berdik, Carolyn Babendreir, Steven Medina, Tarik Anwar, Jennifer Janowsky, Amelia Lomond, Stephen Cortese, and Courtney Pellegrini.

Undergraduates 2017

From left to right; Julia Simon, Steven Medina, Rebecca Wang, Brittany Maldonado, Meg Maurer, Rachel Froehlich, Clare Lister, Trey Hendrix, Sunshine Van Bael. (Not pictured: Callie Oliver, Max Berdik, Caroline Faircloth).

Lab alumni

Gone but not forgotten! Much gratitude to our lab alumni! Demetra Kandalepas, Stephen Suchy, Jordan Hoffman, Taryn Farber, Ryan Wolfe, Matthew Moore, George Washburn, Casy Gu, Joshua Lerner, Kathalina Tran, James Sebes, Elaine Broussard, Ivana Levy, Keiana Cave, Mallory Kiefer, Rebecca Flournoy, Aurora Duncan, Alison Harrington, Kaylee Arnold, Brittany Bernik, Alexander Freeman, Jennifer Janowsky, Amelia Lormand, Emma Darr, Miranda Hendrix, Emma Tower, Kimberly Mighell