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Jessica M. Velez

Bioenergy and Biofuels


Supervising Faculty: Christopher W. Schadt

Jessica Velez earned her first Bachelor of Arts from UT Austin in Texas. In 2010 she returned to university at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville to earn her Bachelor of Science in Microbiology, and during her stay at UT Knoxville worked with Dr. Todd B. Reynolds on Saccharomyces cerevisiae genomics. She joined Dr. Christopher W. Schadt’s lab at Oak Ridge National Lab as a HERE intern immediately following graduation, and will continue on with the Plant Microbial Interfaces (PMI) group for her graduate studies. During her time as an intern and later research associate, she worked with Dr. Schadt and Dr. Cyd E. Hamilton to characterize the fungal endophyte Atractiellales by studying the relative growth rate of this fungus using two different media substrates, as well as competitive interactions with two separate competitor species and plant-fungal interactions with Zea and Populus deltoides.

Her ongoing project will focus on studying the effects of heavy metal contamination within several fungal species by using multiple strains to determine if there are elemental correlations between heavy metal uptake and nutrients in the fungal species, and to determine if these correlations will also be reflected within a plant host (Populus).


Schadt Lab


Bachelor of Arts in English – UT Austin

Bachelor of Science in Microbiology – UT Knoxville