Heiser Fellowship

Charles B. Heiser Graduate Fellowship in Plant Evolution

The Charles B. Heiser Graduate Fellowship in Plant Evolution was established in 2002 by colleagues, friends, and former students to honor Distinguished Professor Emeritus Charles Heiser, who died on June 11, 2010. The fellowship was first awarded in 2009.

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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.