SAFE Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Annkatrin Rose

Dr. Annkatrin Rose, Associate Professor, Department of Biology
Student and Faculty Excellence (SAFE) Fund Recipient: Spring 2023

Project: "Leaf Spot Endophytes in Southern Appalachian Woodland Plants"

Dr. Rose received a Spring 2023 Student and Faculty Excellence (SAFE) grant to launch her research project, titled "Leaf Spot Endophytes in Southern Appalachian Woodland Plants." The project aims to collect biodiversity data on endophytes found in Southern Appalachia with a focus on fungi that cause foliar symptoms in plants.

The grant facilitated trips to field sites in the Great Smoky Mountains and along the Blue Ridge Parkway, which allowed Rose and a team of Appalachian State students to collect leaf samples. Additionally, the grant paid for a DNA extraction kit and sequencing services. "We have extracted DNA from 38 of 45 samples collected so far and submitted the first 10 samples for next generation sequencing thus achieving 20% completion of our goal by the end of the summer. The results from this work will provide the initial data for grant submissions to fund the remainder of the project," wrote Rose.

As a result of her work on the project, senior biology major Annika Fockler received a grant from the North Carolina Native Plant Society's Shinn Fund to conduct capstone research throughout Fall 2023. Using the website iNaturalist to locate plants of interest, Fockler collected and processed samples and used sequencing to identify the endophytes. Her research will help understand which fungi are destructive to their hosts and which could be useful in improving the health of Southern Appalachian plant communities.

Rose also emphasized the broader impacts of the research, including community outreach. "Children participating in summer camp at the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont have used one of our field kits to learn a new technique of field sampling and provided additional samples for us. We expect that this project will continue to involve outreach and facilitate additional collaborations with park officials, as well as the community," she shared.


About the SAFE Fund
Initially endowed by Hughlene and Bill Frank, the College of Arts and Sciences Student and Faculty Excellence (SAFE) Fund provides resources that can be used to support undergraduate, graduate and faculty experiences. The SAFE Fund provides funding for college priorities and opportunities that arise throughout the year. These unrestricted funds support student and faculty travel, publication support for faculty and student research opportunities. Learn more at:

About the Department of Biology
The Department of Biology is a community of teacher-scholars, with faculty representing the full breadth of biological specializations — from molecular genetics to landscape/ecosystem ecology. The department seeks to produce graduates with sound scientific knowledge, the skills to create new knowledge, and the excitement and appreciation of scientific discovery. Learn more at

Written by Lauren Gibbs
February 29, 2024

Dr. Annkatrin Rose, associate professor in Appalachian State University's Department of Biology
Published: Feb 29, 2024 1:30pm