Close up of fungi specimen

Eduardo Pérez Pazos

Research Q & A

What’s your hometown?

I was born and raised in Mexico City, where I lived my entire life before moving into the Twin Cities.

How did you get started/what drew you to your area of study?

I became attracted to fungi since I was an undergrad student. I was immediately fascinated by the mushroom-forming fungi, by the complexity of their life cycle, and their ecological role in almost every type of environment in the world. At the same time, having taught several Fungal Biology and Ecology courses, I gained a more profound joy for studying fungi and their interactions at different ecological levels.

Why are you focusing your work in that area?

I am interested in learning how ectomycorrhizal symbioses (i.e., the interaction between fungi and the roots of trees) are formed and maintained in different environments. This is important given that most terrestrial plants are associated with mycorrhizal fungi and depend on them to acquire nutrients from the soil. I am working with the fungal genus Rhizopogon to see the degree of host specificity by using different plant hosts such as Pinus and Larix.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to follow in your footsteps?

I would recommend people to be patient with themselves and to think deeply about the question(s) they want to pursue. I find useful to take my time to think harder about the science and the experiments that I want to do ahead of time so that when hard time comes, I will remain as excited about the work that I am doing as in the beginning.

What would be the 5-song soundtrack to your research work/What 5 songs do you listen to most while you work?

  • En la Calle by Los Hacheros
  • Cuba no se fue de mi by Orishas
  • Leave the door open by Silk Sonic
  • Underdog by Alcia Keys
  • Movimiento by Jorge Drexler

 

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