Biology undergrad Ruolin "Eudora" Miao recently was recently awarded grants from the Mycological Society of America ($500) and Duke's Undergraduate Research Support Office ($2500) for her independent study project on mycoremediation with professors Rytas Vilgalys and Jonathan Shaw. Eudora is studying the role of symbiotic mycorrhizal fungi in forest regeneration at mine sites around North Carolina. Many of these mine sites date back to America's first gold rush (1840) and are still barren of plant growth due to toxic levels of silver, copper and zinc. For her project, Eudora established contacts with EPA scientists and mining company owners to obtain access to abandoned mine sites in North Carolina where she will collect soils and fungal specimens along with young pine trees growing in the mine field.
Since her freshman year Eudora has had a strong passion for environmental science. She has participated in field studies at Duke's Marine Lab and the Virgin Islands Environmental Resource Station, in Costa Rica with DukeEngage, in South Africa through the Organization for Tropical Studies, and at the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden. This summer, Eudora has been accepted as an intern with the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington DC, where she will study impact of sea-level rise on coastal communities, especially those that are disadvantaged.
This fall, Eudora plans to resume work on her senior honors thesis under the guidance of postdoc Alejo Rojas in the Vilgalys lab. No question, Eudora is on the mycological fast track!