Department of Biology
University of Louisville
University of Illinois and Oregon State University
Advisors: Dr. Katy Heath and Dr. Posy Busby
Department of Biology, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Doctorate of Philosophy in Evolution Ecology and Behavior, December 2017
Minor in College Pedagogy
Graduate Certificate in College Pedagogy
Committee: Dr. Keith Clay (advisor), Dr. Spencer Hall, Dr. Thomas Nelson Laird, Dr. Jay Lennon;
Cumulative GPA: 4.0/4.0
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
Bachelor of Arts in Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology, May 2012
Bachelor of Arts in Spanish, May 2012
Cumulative GPA: 3.60/4.0; Ecology Major GPA: 3.53/4.0; Spanish Major GPA: 3.78/4.0
Organization for Tropical Studies, Costa Rica
Tropical Biology: An Ecological Approach, Graduate Program, Summer 2013
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Valparaíso, Chile
Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) Study Abroad Program, Spring 2011
Grants, Fellowships, and Awards (Research) ($441,602 to date)
2020 University of Louisville College of Arts & Sciences Research and Creative Activities Grant ($3,000; with R. Pigg)
2019 Mycological Society of America Special Topics Award ($7,500)
2019 Mycological Society of America Translational Mycology Postdoctoral Award ($1,250)
2018 University of Illinois Campus Research Board Award ($22,329)
2018 United States Department of Agriculture AFRI Postdoctoral Fellowship ($165,000)
2017 Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute/Simons Foundation Seed Grant ($12,000)
2017 Indiana University Floyd Plant and Fungal Summer Fellowship ($3,234)
2017 Indiana University Plant and Fungal Biology Program Floyd/Ogg/Cleland Final Year Fellowship ($10,883)
2017 Indiana University Fred Seward Award ($2,500)
2017 McCormick Science Grant ($2,500)
2017 Garden Club of America Award in Tropical Botany ($5,500)
2017 Indiana University Women in Science Program Provost Travel Grant ($500)
2016 National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant (DDIG) ($19,551)
2016 Smithsonian Institution Predoctoral Student Fellowship ($9,555)
2015 Indiana Academy of Science Senior Research Grant ($2,264)
2015 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Internship Program (GRIP) Grant ($5,000)
2015 Indiana University Graduate Sustainability Research Development Grant ($6,882)
2014 Sigma Xi Grant-in-Aid of Research ($700)
2014 Indiana University Research and Teaching Preserve Grant ($500)
2014 Mycological Society of America Forest Fungal Ecology Award ($1,000)
2014 Garden Club of America Anne S. Chatham Fellowship in Medicinal Botany ($4,500)
2014 Indiana University Sears Crowell Scholarship ($1,000)
2013 Indiana University Women in Science Program Provost Travel Grant ($1,000)
2013 Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute Short-Term Fellowship ($3,000)
2013 Indiana Academy of Science Senior Research Grant ($1,502)
2013 Organization for Tropical Studies Post-Course Grant ($952; declined)
2013 Indiana University Floyd Plant and Fungal Summer Fellowship ($1,117)
2013 Indiana University Departmental Research Recruitment Fellowship ($10,883)
2012 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) ($136,000)
Grants and Awards (Education and Outreach)
2020 University of Louisville Furnish Teaching Award
2017 Indiana University Albert Ruesink Outstanding Associate Instructor Teaching Award in Biology
2013 City of Bloomington Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission Grant
2013 George E. Archer Foundation Discretionary Grant
2009 Nichols Humanitarian Award
2008 American Red Cross Navin Narayan Youth Scholarship Award
Whitaker, B.K., N. Christian, Q. Chai, and K. Clay. In press. "Foliar microbiome community structure is independent of phylogenetic relatedness in an Asteraceae common garden." Ecology and Evolution.
Christian, N., B. E. Sedio, X. Florez-Buitrago, L. A. Ramírez-Camejo, E. I. Rojas, L. C. Mejía, S. Palmedo, A. Rose, J. W. Schroeder, E. A. Herre (2020). “Host affinity of endophytic fungi and the potential for reciprocal interactions involving host secondary chemistry.” American Journal of Botany 107: 219-228. (Special Issue).
Zanne, A., K. Abarenkov, M. Afkhami, C. Aguilar-Trigueros, S. Bates, P. Busby, N. Christian, et. al. (2019). "Fungal functional ecology: Bringing a trait-based approach to plant-associated fungi." Biological Reviews. doi:10.1111/brv.12570
Christian, N., E.A. Herre, and K. Clay. 2019. "Foliar endophytic fungi alter patterns of nitrogen uptake and distribution in Theobroma cacao." New Phytologist 222: 1573-1583. doi:10.1111/nph.15693.
Christian, N. and K.D. Kearns. 2018. "Using scaffolding and deliberate practice to improve scientific writing in an introductory biology laboratory course." Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education. 19(2): doi:10.1128/jmbe.v19i2.1564.
Christian, N. and J.D. Bever. 2018. "Carbon allocation and competition maintain variation in plant root mutualisms." Ecology and Evolution 8(11):5792-5800. doi: 10.1002/ece3.4118.
Christian, N., E. A. Herre, L. C. Mejia, and K. Clay. 2017. “Exposure to the leaf litter microbiome of healthy adults protects cacao seedlings from pathogen damage.” Proceedings of the Royal Society B 284(1858). doi: 10.1098/rspb.2017.0641.
Christian, N., B.K. Whitaker, and K. Clay. 2017. “A novel framework for decoding fungal endophyte diversity.” In The Fungal Community: Its Organization and Role in the Ecosystem 4th Edition. Eds. John Dighton, James White and Peter Oudemans. Submitted as an invited contribution.
Christian, N., C. Sullivan, N. D. Visser, and K. Clay. 2016. “Plant host and geographic location drive endophyte community composition in the face of perturbation.” Microbial Ecology 72(3): 621-632. doi: 10.1007/s00248-016-0804-y.
Christian, N., B.K. Whitaker, and K. Clay. 2015. Microbiomes: unifying animal and plant systems through the lens of community ecology theory. Frontiers in Microbiology. 6:869. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2015.00869
Lawson, S., N. Christian, and P. Abbott. 2014. Comparative analysis of the biodiversity of fungal endophytes in insect-induced galls and surrounding foliar tissue. Fungal Diversity 66:89-97.
Mitchell, S., C. Ellingston, T. Coyne, L. Hall, M. Neill, N. Christian, C. Higham, S. F Dobrowolski, M. Trachman, and M. Summar. 2009. Genetic variation in the urea cycle: a model resource for investigating key candidate genes for common diseases. Human Mutation 30:56-60.
Manuscripts in Review and in Revision
Christian, N., B. Espino Basurto, A. Toussaint, X. Xu, E. A. Ainsworth, P. E. Busby, and K. D. Heath. "Elevated CO2 reduces a dominant soybean leaf endophyte." In review.
Christian, N. “Who am I? How I reconciled my identity as a woman in science and education through pedagogy courses and evidence-based teaching.” In Voices from the Classroom: Graduate Students and Evidence-based Teaching. Eds. Jennifer Meta Robinson, Valerie Dean O'Loughlin, Katherine Dowell Kearns, and Laura Plummer. Under contract, anticipated 2020.
Christian, N. and M. Marasco. “Avoiding the easy way out: How we pushed ourselves and our students to try something new.” In Voices from the Classroom: Graduate Students and Evidence-based Teaching. Eds. Jennifer Meta Robinson, Valerie Dean O'Loughlin, Katherine Dowell Kearns, and Laura Plummer. Under contract, anticipated 2020.
2019 Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
2019 Ecological Society of America Organized Oral Session, Louisville, KY (Session Organizer)
2019 Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Tupper Talk, Panama City, Panama
2019 The University of Louisville, Louisville, KY
2017 Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation, Mérida, Mexico
2016 Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Science Symposium, Panama City, Panama
Posters and Presentations (*presenting author, †mentored undergraduate)
Basurto, B.*†, N. Christian, and K. Heath. 2019. Fungal endophytes interact with endophytic yeast isolated from soybean leaves. Illinois Summer Research Symposium. Urbana, IL. Poster.
Christian, N.*, E. A. Herre, L.C. Mejia, and K. Clay. 2018. Exposure to the leaf litter microbiome of healthy adults protects cacao seedlings from pathogen damage. Green Life Sciences Symposium. Ann Arbor, MI. Speedtalk.
Christian, N.*, and E. A. Herre. 2018. Rapid changes associated with fungal communities of decomposing tropical leaf litter. Ecological Society of America. New Orleans, LA. Talk.
Toussaint, A.*†, N. Christian, and K. Heath. 2018. How does climate change affect endophytic fungi? Illinois Summer Research Symposium. Urbana, IL. Poster.
Christian, N., A. E. Zanne, K. Abarenkov, M. E. Afkhami, C. A. Aguilar-Trigueros, S. Bates, P. E. Busby, W. Cornwell, T. W. Crowther, H. Flores-Moreno, D. Floudas, R. Gazis, D. Hibbett, P. Kennedy, D. L. Lindner, D. S. Maynard, A. M. Milo, R. H. Nilsson, J. Powell, M. Schildhauer, J. Schilling, J. M. Bhatnagar, and K. K. Treseder. 2018. Fungal functional ecology: Bringing a trait-based approach to plant-associated fungi. International Mycological Congress. San Juan, Puerto Rico. Poster
Christian, N.*, N.D. Visser†, and K. Clay. 2017. Foliar endophytic fungi alter plant host chemistry. Ecological Society of America. Portland, OR. Poster (ESA Microbial Ecology Section Student Travel Grant).
Whitaker, B.K.*, N. Christian, Q. Chai, K. Clay. 2017. Foliar microbiome community assembly driven by phylogenetic relatedness of Asteraceae hosts in a common garden. Ecological Society of America. Portland, OR. Talk.
Christian, N.*, E. A. Herre, and K. Clay. 2016. Preferential allocation of nutrients to foliar endophytic fungi. Ecological Society of America. Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Talk.
Whitaker, B.K.*, Q. Chai, N. Christian, K. Clay. 2016. Fungal endophyte community characterization in the plant family Asteraceae - do microbiomes correlate with plant phylogenetic relatedness? Indiana Academy of Science Annual Meeting. Indianapolis, IN. Poster.
Nagle, M.*, L. Montroni*, N. Christian*, M. Marasco*, K. Kearns*. 2016. Filling the Gaps: Engaging Advanced Graduate Students in Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. E.C. Moore Symposium on Excellence in Teaching. Indianapolis, IN. Talk.
Christian, N.*, E. A. Herre, L. C. Mejia, and K. Clay. 2016. Canopy and leaf litter affect composition and function of tropical endophyte communities. Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute Fellows and Interns Symposium. Panama City, Panama. Poster.
Christian, N.*, E. A. Herre, L. C. Mejia, and K. Clay. Canopy height and litter-derived spore sources affect both composition and function of tropical endophyte communities. Ecological Society of America. Baltimore, MD. Talk.
Christian, N.*, E. A. Herre, L. C. Mejia, and K. Clay. Canopy height and litter-derived spore sources affect both composition and function of tropical endophyte communities. Midwest Ecology and Evolution Conference. Bloomington, IN. Talk.
Sullivan, C.*†, N. Visser*†, N. Christian, and K. Clay. 2015. Fungicide application increases diversity of foliar endophytic fungi. Midwest Ecology and Evolution Conference. Bloomington, IN. Poster.
Christian, N.*, C. Sullivan†, N. Visser†, and K. Clay. 2015. Fungal endophyte biodiversity at the plant-insect interface. Indiana Academy of Science Annual Meeting. Indianapolis, IN. Talk.
Christian, N.* 2014. Assembly of tropical fungal endophyte communities. Indiana University EEB Brown Bag Seminar Series. Bloomington, IN. Talk.
Christian, N.* 2014. Fungal endophyte biodiversity at the plant-insect interface. Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute “Bambi” Seminar Series. Barro Colorado Island, Panama. Talk.
Christian, N.* and J. Bever. 2013. Maintenance of mutualistic plant-soil symbiont interactions by means of differential carbon allocation. Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation, San José, Costa Rica. Poster (Davidson-Cristoph Travel Award).
Christian, N.* and J. Bever. 2013. Maintenance of the plant-soil symbiont mutualism by means of differential carbon allocation. Midwest Ecology and Evolution Conference, South Bend, IN. Poster.
Christian, N.* and M. Summer. 2008. Using glutathione levels as indicators of oxidant injury and post-surgical pulmonary hypertension. Tennessee Junior Academy of Sciences Symposium, Nashville, TN. Talk (second-place presentation).
Teaching and Pedagogy Experience
Instructor; Biology: Issues and Applications; University of Louisville
Head Associate Instructor; Introduction to Biology Laboratory; Indiana University
Site Visitor; Advance College Project; Indiana University
Panelist; Course Design Workshop; Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning at Indiana University
Instructor of Record; The Feminist Scientist: What’s the problem with women in science?; Indiana University
Facilitator; Associate Instructor Orientation Workshop on Classroom Climate; Indiana University
Co-instructor; Roots, Fruits, and Resiliency: Cultural Ecology, Sustainable Agriculture & Eco-Heritage Tourism in Jamaica; Indiana University
Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning Faculty Advisory Board; Indiana University
Co-course developer; Biodiverse-City! The art and science of green infrastructure; Indiana University
2014 – 2017
Member; Graduate Student Learning Community
Head Associate Instructor; Introduction to Biology Laboratory; Indiana University
2009 – 2012
Tutor; Academic Support for Student Athletes; Vanderbilt University
Julia Paoli (University of Illinois); Project: Effect of soybean genotype on rhizobia nodulation and plant traits
Baldemar Basurto (Bakersfield College); Phenotypic Plasticity Research Experience for Community College Students (NSF REU program); Project: In vitro competition between soybean-associated fungal endophytes
Xinyan Xu (Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University); Undergraduate exchange student
Amber Toussaint (Malcolm X College); Phenotypic Plasticity Research Experience for Community College Students (NSF REU program); Project: Effect of climate change on the soybean microbiome
2014 – 2016
Noelle Visser (Indiana University); Project: Effect of foliar endophytic fungi on plant secondary chemistry
2013 – 2015
Courtney Sullivan (Indiana University); Honors thesis: Endophytic fungal community dynamics of White Snakeroot (Ageratina altissima) in the face of disturbance; Achievements: Hutton Honors College Grant ($1000); Fox Glen Research and Education Fund Award ($500)
“Fixing the leaky pipeline: The importance of women in science, and the role of STEM education.” Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Living-Learning Center Seminar Course. Indiana University.
2014, 2016, 2017
“Seeing beyond the ‘green wall’: Tropical rainforest biodiversity.” Biodiversity L307. Indiana University.
"Guiding student inquiry in biology." Teaching in Biology Z620 (graduate course). Indiana University.
“El desarrollo de comunidades de hongos endofíticos tropicales.” Introductory Field Course to Tropical Biology). Smithsonian Tropical Research Institution, Barro Colorado Island, Panama. Presented in Spanish.
Service and Outreach
Invasive Species Ecologist Search Committee; Indiana University; Department of Biology
EcoLunch Social Chair; Indiana University Department of Biology
2016 – 2017
Volunteer; Bloomington Urban Woodlands Project
Publicity Committee Member; Midwest Ecology and Evolution Conference
2014 – 2015
Coordinator; “Fruits of the Forest” Service Learning Program; Bloomington Urban Woodlands Project
2013 – 2014
Outreach Intern; Bloomington Urban Woodlands Project
2013 – 2014
Committee Member; Indiana University Office of Sustainability Environmental Quality and Land Use Working Group Hosting
2012 – 2013
Committee Chair; Indiana University Department of Biology Graduate Recruiting Weekend (GRW)
Working Groups and Professional Societies
Working Groups: NCEAS WG: Fungal Traits (2016-present)
Professional Societies: American Association for the Advancement of Science, Ecological Society of America, Indiana Academy of Sciences, Mycological Society of America
Ad hoc Reviews: American Journal of Botany, Ecology, Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, Fungal Biology, Fungal Ecology, The ISME Journal, Journal of Ecology, New Phytologist, Microbial Ecology, Mycologia, Pedobiologia, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, PloS ONE
Previous Research Experience
2010 – 2012
Vanderbilt University Undergraduate Student; Advisor: Dr. Patrick Abbot; Biodiversity of endophytic fungi in insect- induced galls; Social behavior of Pemphigus aphids
Vanderbilt University Research Assistant, Advisor: Dr. Antonis Rokas; Next-generation sequencing and whole-genome phylogenetic analysis of various species of yeast
2006 – 2009
Vanderbilt University Medical Center Intern, Advisor: Dr. Marshall Summar; Oxidant injury and post-surgical pulmonary hypertension in congenital heart defect patients; Enzymatic polymorphisms in urea cycle disorder patients