Ashley Shade, Ph.D.

Ashley Shade's curriculum vitae (13 Jan 2022).

Ashley received her bachelor’s degree in biology from Susquehanna University (Selinsgrove, PA), her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin Microbiology Doctoral Training Program in 2010, and afterwards was a Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation postdoctoral fellow of the Life Sciences Research Foundation at Yale University. In 2014, she started her research group in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at Michigan State University.


In her research program, Ashley wants to understand the resilience of microbial communities (microbiomes). Resilience is the capacity of a system to recover after it has been altered by a disturbance. Her lab employs ‘omics tools with both field and laboratory studies. She has funded research on microbial ecology in extreme environments, plant-microbiome interactions and coupled resilience, and how microbial interactions support resilience.

Ashley has been recognized as an Ecological Society for America Early Career Fellow (2019), and has an active National Science Foundation CAREER award (2017).  She was honored with the Michigan State University Graduate School Outstanding Faculty Mentor award in 2021.


Ashley serves as an editor at the American Society for Microbiology journal mSystems and and as a guest editor at Phytobiomes. She is an advocate of reproducible research and open science, and her lab’s analysis workflows and data are findable on GitHub. In addition, she has developed a popular workshop on microbial metagenome analysis ( that aimed to empower microbiologists to learn and apply the tools of data science to their research.


Ashley cares deeply about mentoring and teaching: she applies trainee-focused Radical Candor in her mentoring style and Scientific Teaching (teaching-as-research) in her undergraduate classroom to support student learning outcomes. She was nominated by her students to be recognized with the inaugural Faculty Mentor Award in 2020 by the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics.


Ashley is the parent of two active, young children, ages 4 and 8. Her spouse is also a scientist. She has a pet tortoise named Billy Joel and enjoys training her new huge rescue puppy, Jupiter.  She also loves Broadway, cooking new recipes, and engaging in discussions about how we can work together to solve the climate crisis.