The Charles B. Heiser Graduate Fellowship in Plant Evolution was established in 2002. It honors Distinguished Emeritus Professor Charles Heiser, who died on June 11, 2010. The fellowship was first awarded in 2009.
About Charles B. Heiser
Charles B. Heiser joined the IU faculty in 1947 and spent his entire career here. Heiser was a leading authority on sunflowers and a renowned ethnobotanist. His interests included natural hybridization and its evolutionary significance, as well as the origin of domesticated plants and agriculture. He was also an expert on naranjillas, gourds, chili peppers, and totora.
Heiser was a Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences and he received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1953. He served as president of the American Society for Plant Taxonomy, the Society for the Study of Evolution, the Society for Economic Botany, and the Botanical Society of America.
2022 Heiser Fellow: Tyler Frailie
Tyler Frailie is a fifth-year Ph.D. student working with Distinguished Professor Roger Innes. Tyler studies the co-evolution of cereal crops and their fungal pathogens. His research focuses on proteins secreted by fungi into plant cells that function to block host immune responses. In particular, he is studying a subset of these proteins that function as proteases to cleave specific host proteins inside host cells. By studying the conservation of these fungal proteases across species and the conservation of their host targets, he hopes to develop new strategies for engineering durable forms of disease resistance in crops. This in turn will help guide agricultural practices away from heavy reliance on fungicides towards more environmentally sustainable methods. The Heiser Fellowship will allow him to further develop a novel, low-cost, high-throughput method for determining protease target sequences within host plant proteins.