EEB graduate student Thomas Jenkinson has been named a Dow Sustainability Fellow for his project "Exposing the anthropogenic threat to a global center of frog diversity in the Atlantic rainforest of Brazil: A multi-faceted education and awareness campaign."

Jenkinson is interested in using genetic evidence to infer the evolutionary history and dispersal of fungal species, particularly fungal pathogens. He is currently studying Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), the emerging fungal pathogen responsible for causing chytridiomycosis of amphibians. Since its discovery in 1998, Bd has been implicated in population declines and extinction of hundreds of amphibian species worldwide. Jenkinson's dissertation research focuses on tracking the geographic distribution and movement of chytridiomycosis in southeastern Brazil using genetic analyses of pathogen cultures collected from infected frogs. His research is also aimed at using pathogen population genetics to understand the role of anthropogenic activities like deforestation, and the aquaculture of invasive host species on the dispersal and evolution of Bd in South America. His advisor is Professor Timothy James. 

The Dow Sustainability Fellows Program’s first cohort of interdisciplinary Ph.D. fellows comprises 10 doctoral students from six schools and colleges at U-M. The program seeks to cultivate future leaders by bringing together a select group of the most promising U-M graduate students and postdoctoral scholars, who learn from one another and integrate the power of their respective disciplines to help solve global sustainability challenges – from energy, climate change and transportation to water, food, housing and health.

Each doctoral fellow will receive $50,000 over two years to support interdisciplinary research related to sustainability, with additional support provided by their home units at U-M .

In addition to receiving funding, Dow fellows participate in an ongoing seminar and engage in a series of co-curricular activities designed to expand capacity for interdisciplinary thinking and leadership. For example, fellows conduct a project of their choosing with partners from different disciplines as a required part of the program.

On the same research topic, Jenkinson won best oral presentation award from the Mycological Society of America at their annual meeting. So, it's double congrats! 

Read more about the Dow Sustainability Fellows in the U-M Record Update article