Emile Gluck-Thaler

Assistant Professor Emile Gluck-Thaler

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Assistant Professor

Email: gluckthaler@wisc.edu
682 Russell Labs
1630 Linden Dr.
Madison, WI 53706

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  • PhD Plant Pathology, The Ohio State University
    BS Life Sciences, Microbiology Specialization, McGill University, Canada

Professional Appointments

  • Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow, University of Neuchatel, Switzerland
  • Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Pennsylvania
  • Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Pittsburgh


I am a mycologist, plant pathologist, and evolutionary biologist fascinated by the ecological genetics and evolutionary genomics of plant-microbe interactions. The long-term goals of my lab are to understand why variation in plant-microbe interactions exists and how adaptive genomic variation emerges. We do this by building new computational tools and integrating molecular experiments with evolutionary analyses of large sequencing datasets.
My lab’s ongoing work investigates how differences in microbial genome structure arise and how they impact plant health. For example, we recently discovered and described a new superfamily of giant mobile elements in fungi called Starships. Starships are different from the vast majority of eukaryotic mobile elements because they transpose fungal genes as “cargo”. Starship activity causes the gain and loss of genes, including those implicated in pathogenicity and mutualism, giving them vast potential to impact fungal ecology and mediate plant health outcomes. A major focus of my research program centers on using mobile elements like Starships to investigate the origins of variation in species interactions and to generate new knowledge for improving the resilience of agro-ecosystems.

Courses Taught



Google Scholar Profile

Selected Publications

Gluck-Thaler E, Ralston T, Konkel Z, Ocampos CG, Ganeshan VD, Dorrance AE, Niblack TL, Wood CW, Slot JC, Lopez-Nicora HD, Vogan AA (2022). Giant Starship elements mobilize accessory genes in fungal genomes. Molecular biology and evolution, 39(5). 
Gluck-Thaler E, Slot JC (2018). Specialized plant biochemistry drives gene clustering in fungi. The ISME Journal 12: 1694–1705.