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Hui-Ling (Sunny) Liao

Assistant Professor, Soil Microbial Ecology
North Florida Research and Education Center
Microbiome Lab
Microbiome Blog

Program Areas

  • Research

    Departmental Research Areas:

    Research focus:

    Dr. Liao specializes in symbiosis research, particularly microbial mutualisms. Her primary interests lie at understanding relationships between microbial diversity and their function to the ecosystem. Current research areas include applying integrated metaomics to visualize the role of soil microbiomes play on nutrient cycling, plant fitness and (natural/agro-) ecosystem processes.

  • Extension

    Extension Focus:

    Provide growers with information on improving soil health and crop productivity through the detection/prediction of microbial dynamics. Apply the emerging technologies to highlight the importance of ecosystem services provided by microbiomes.


  • Select Publications
    • Liao, H.-L., Chen, Y., and Vilgalys, R. 2016. Metatranscriptomic studies reveal common and host-specific patterns of gene expression between pines and their symbiotic ectomycorrhizal fungi in the genus Suillus. PLOS Genetics (accepted)
    • Branco, S., Bi, K. Liao, H.-L., Gladieux, P., Badouin, H., Ellison, C. E.,Nguyen, N, Vilgalys, R., Peay, K. G., Taylor, J. W., Bruns, T. D. 2016. Continental-level population differentiation and environmental adaptation in Suillus brevipes Molecular Ecology (in review)
    • Bonito, G. Hameed, K., Toome, M., Healy, R., Reid, C, Liao, H.-L. Cathie Aime, C., Schadt, C, Vilgalys, R. 2016. Atractiella rhizophilia, a novel endorrhizal fungus within the rust lineage (Puccinomycotina) adapted to the root microbiome of Populus and diverse plant hosts Mycologia (accepted)
    • Rosenthal, L. M., Branco, S., Chung, J. A., Glassman, S. I., Liao, H.-L., Peay, K. G., Smith, D. P., Talbot, J. M., Taylor, J. W., Vellinga, E. C., Vilgalys, R., and Bruns, T. D. 2016. Survey of athelioid corticioid fungi in North American pinaceous forests reveals hyperdiversity, underpopulated sequence databases and species that are potentially ectomycorrhizal. Mycologia (in review)
    • Branco, S., Gladieux, P., Ellison, C. E., Kuo, A., LaButii, K., Lipzen, A., Grigoriev, I. V., Liao, H.-L., Vilgalys, R., Peay, K. G., Taylor, J. W., and Bruns, T. D. 2015. Genetic isolation between two recently diverged populations of a symbiotic fungus. Mol. Evol. 24:2747-2758.
    • Liao, H.-L., Chen, Y., Bruns, T.D., Peay, K.G. Taylor, J.W. Branco, S., Talbot, J. M., and Vilgalys, R. 2014. Metatranscriptomic analysis of ectomycorrhizal roots reveal genes associated with Piloderma-Pinus symbiosis: Improved methodologies for assessing gene expression in situ. Environ. Microbiol. 16:3730-3742.
    • Talbot, J. M., Bruns, T. D., Taylor, J., Smith, D. P., Branco, Glassman, S. I., Erlandson, S., Vilgalys, R., Liao, H.-L., Smith, M., and Peay, K. G. 2014. Endemism and functional convergence across the North American soil mycobiome. PNAS 111:6341-6346.
  • Google Scholar

Hui Ling (Sunny) Liao 280x300


North Florida Research and Education Center
155 Research Rd. 
Quincy, FL 32351-5677

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(850) 875-7197
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