Rondy J Malik

  • PhD Candidate, Ecology
Rondy J Malik
223 Forest Resources Building

Areas of Expertise

  • Plant-microbe interactions
  • Community ecology


  1. Ph.D, Ecology (Expected 2020), The Pennsylvania State University
  2. M.S, Evolution, Ecology and Behavior (2016),Indiana University
  3. B.S, Biology (2013), University of Massachusetts - Boston

BIOGRAPHY: My hometown is Mattapan, Massachusetts.  I attended the University of Massachusetts - Boston (UMass-Boston). At UMass-Boston, I was a former undergraduate research assistant. My training began in population genetics (Advisor: Rick Kesseli) where I learned to perform DNA extractions, while using microsatellite and chloroplast markers to determine the origin of a non-indigenous weed (Zavada et al 2017, Ecology and Evolution). 

The aforementioned training empowered me to develop my own research questions within the scope of my thesis advisor's research program.  As a Ph.D student at Indiana University (IU), I worked under the mentorship of James D. Bever, where I developed an interest in arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and their ability to modulate food web processes, specifically pathogenicity (Malik et al. 2016, Biological Control) and herbivory (Malik et al. 2018, Pedobiologia). I would later leave IU with Masters in Evolution, Ecology & Behavior because my former (Bever) lab relocated to the University of Kansas.

Currently, I am a Ph.D Candidate at Penn State's Huck Institute of Life Sciences - Ecology Program (Advisor: David M. Eissenstat). My current research project in the Eissenstat Root Ecology lab provides insight on ways in which mycorrhizal associations can affect decomposition. In addition, I have a collaborative role in a long-term research project at Susquehanna-Shale Hills Critical Zone Observatory.