Colton is a MS student in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources. His research utilizes molecular approaches to study fungal diseases that impact the health and productivity of southern pine stands. Currently, he is working to develop a field-capable molecular detection tool for Fusarium circinatum, the cause of pitch canker in pines, and applying both metagenomics and traditional microbiological methods to describe the fungal communities of diseased pine needles. Overall his scientific interests include the ecology of microbiome-host interactions, applications of biotechnology to forest health research, and promoting the exchange of ideas and expertise between academic, government, and industry partners.

Prior to joining the Villari lab he served as the lab manager and diagnostician of the Wisconsin DNR forest health team and led the laboratory component of the West Virginia foodborne illness surveillance program. Colton earned a BS with foci in microbiology and Russian language and literature from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

Outside of the lab Colton spends his time cooking, writing, and getting lost in the mountains.