Spring '24 Alumni Updates

Alumni Award Updates, Dr. Miller's Lab

Prestigious award to PPEM alumna

In March, 2024, Iowa State University Plant Pathology alumna, Aurélie Rakotondrafara, was awarded the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award by the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she is Associate Professor of Plant Pathology. 

At ISU, Aurélie earned both her MS (Plant Pathology, 2002) and PhD (MCDB, 2005) working in Allen Miller’s lab. 

Rakotondrafara's teaching philosophy prioritizes innovative methods to meet students' diverse needs, interests, and educational levels. Her deep understanding of students enables her to tailor instructional methods, which sets a high standard for inclusivity. Participation and achievement has increased, creating an equitable educational experience. Using interactive online platforms, multimedia resources, and gamification, she transforms classrooms that emphasize active learning, promoting critical thinking, creativity, and student ownership.

Learn more about Rakotondrafara’s award and other Distinguised Teaching Award Winners, with this link, from University of Wisconsin-Madison. 


Alumni Updates, Roger Wise's Lab

Undergraduate Students

Morgan Bixby, just defended her PhD in Pharmacology at University of Minnesota

Ana Mia Corujo, 3rd year at Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

Graduate Students

Valeria Velásquez-Zapata, Bioinformatics scientist at GreenLight Biosciences, Research Triangle Park, NC

Antony Chapman, Lead tomato genome engineer, Phytoform labs (Rothamsted, U.K.)

Matthew Hunt, Medical Informatics Consultant at the James Cancer Center, Dublin, Ohio

Priyanka Surana, Boinformatics scientist, Tree of Life project at Wellcome Sanger Institute (Cambridge, U.K.)

Ehren Whigham, Director of Undergraduate Laboratories at Creighton University (Omaha, NE)

Matt Moscou, Senior scientist for research on cereal rusts at the USDA-ARS Cereal Disease Lab (St. Paul, MN),


J. Mitch Elmore, USDA-ARS scientist, Fusarium head blight resistance at the Cereal Disease Lab (St. Paul, MN)

Yan Meng, Assistant professor at Alcorn State University (Alcorn, MS) working on viral functional genomics for crop production

Dennis Halterman (USDA-ARS, Madison, WI), most recent IS-MPMI Interactions Editor-in-Chief, named President to the American Potato Association.