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M. Catherine Aime

Botany and Plant Pathology 

  • Professor and Director of the Purdue Herbaria
Lilly Hall Room 1-335

Researchers in the Aime lab study all aspects of mycology, from genomics to pathology, although at its core the lab focuses on the earliest diverging lineages of Basidiomycota (Pucciniomycotina, Ustilaginomycotina, and Wallemiomycetes) and on basidiomycetes in tropical ecosystems. Our primary focus is on: (1) Systematics, biology, and evolution of rust fungi; the rust fungi represent the single largest group of plant pathogens with incredibly complex life cycles. Our work in this area uses phylogenetics and genomics to try and understand how these fungi became so successful and to provide tools for their identification. (2) Biodiversity of tropical fungi; it is conservatively estimated that more than 1 million fungal species have yet to be discovered and described by science and that many of these may reside in tropical world regions that have not yet been explored for fungi. Dr. Aime has spent 15 years documenting and describing new species and genera from a very remote region in Guyana and other tropical forests worldwide. (3) Systematics and biology of earliest diverging Basidiomycota, which includes the rust and smut fungal lineages and their non-pathogenic yeast and yeast-like relatives.

More information is available on the Aime lab page:

Awards & Honors

(2017) University Faculty Scholar. Purdue University.

(2017) Agriculture Research Award. College of Agriculture, Purdue University.

(2016) Seed for Success Award. Purdue University.

(2012) Fellow. Mycological Society of America.

(2009) Fellow. Linnean Society of London.

(2007) Fellow. Explorer's Club.

Selected Publications

Aime, M. C., Bell, C. D., & Wilson, A. W. (2018). Deconstructing the evolutionary complexity between rust fungi (Pucciniales) and their plant hosts. Studies in Mycology, 89, 143-152. doi:10.1016/j.simyco.2018.02.002

Abbasi, M., Aime, M. C., Eamvijarn, A., Creswell, T. C., Ruhl, G., & Wright, S. (2017). First report of cronartium rust disease on Chinquapin Oak. Plant Disease, 101(7), 1329. doi:10.1094/PDIS-05-16-0757-PDN

Wilson, A., Beckerman, J. L., & Aime, M. C. (2016). First report of the white pine blister rust fungus, Cronartium ribicola, on Ribes odoratum, in Indiana. 98(2), 277. Retrieved from

Aime, M. C., McTaggart, A. R., Mondo, S. J., & Duplessis, S\'ebastien (2017). Phylogenetics and Phylogenomics of Rust Fungi. In Advances in genetics (100, 267--307). Academic Press.

Koch, R. A., Wilson, A. W., Séné, O., Henkel, T. W., & Aime, M. C. (2017). Resolved phylogeny and biogeography of the root pathogen Armillaria and its gasteroid relative, Guyanagaster. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 17(1). doi:10.1186/s12862-017-0877-3

McLaughlin, D. J., Kumar, T., Padamsee, M., Toome-Heller, M., Frieders, E., & Aime, M. C. (2017). Structural character evolution in Pucciniomycotina: Mitosis, septa and hyphal branch initiation in two Helicogloea species. Mycologia, 109, 162-181.

Spatafora, J., Aime, M. C., Grigoriev, IV, Martin, F., Stajich, J., & Blackwell, M. (2017). The Fungal Tree of Life: from Molecular Systematics to Genome-Scale Phylogenies. The Fungal Kingdom, 31. doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.FUNK-0053-2016

Abbasi, M., Aime, M. C., Creswell, T. C., & Ruhl, G. E. (2016). First Report of Rust Disease Caused by Coleosporium apocynaceum on Amsonia 'Blue Ice' in Indiana. Plant Disease, 100(8), 1786. Retrieved from

Dentinger, B., Gaya, E., O'Brien, H., Suz, L. M., Lachlan, R., Diaz-Valderrama, J. R., . . . Aime, M. C. (2016). Tales from the crypt: Genome mining from fungarium specimens improves resolution of the mushroom tree of life. Biological Journal of The Linnaean Society, 117, 11-32. Retrieved from

Díaz-Valderrama, J. R., & Aime, M. C. (2016). The cacao pathogen Moniliophthora roreri (Marasmiaceae) possesses biallelic A and B mating loci but reproduces clonally. Heredity, 116(6), 491-501. doi:10.1038/hdy.2016.5

Botany and Plant Pathology, 915 West State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907 USA, (765) 494-4614

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