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Department of Plant Pathology

Host Parasite Interactions

Dorith Rotenberg - Develop genomics tools for Frankliniella occidentalis the western flower thrips, to identify thrips molecules that interact and respond to Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) infection; use ecological and statistical tools to study the biotic factors that influence efficiency and frequency of transmission to plants.

Barbara Valent- Genetics and functional genomics of the rice blast fungus, Magnaporthe grisea and its host, Oryza sativa with a focus on molecular understanding of the "gene-for-gene" surveillance systems by which plants detect and defend themselves against pathogens. Analysis of the AVR-Pita and Pi-ta resistance gene system for elucidation of recognition and triggering mechanisms, defense signal transduction pathways and defense responses. Understanding avirulence gene functions in the infection process. Population biology of fungal avirulence genes as an aid to R gene deployment.

Frank White - The research of Prof. Frank White utilizes molecular genetic and genomic techniques for functional analyses of plant disease and mechanisms of resistance. Complete genome sequencing of plant pathogenic bacteria is used for gene discovery. Targeted mutagenesis techniques are subsequently used for functional analysis. Transcriptional profiling is for gene discovery in rice, sorghum and wheat. RNA-meditated gene silencing and insertional mutanagenesis techniques are employed in the analysis of host/pathogen interactions. Our principle organisms are rice and sorghum with related work in other species including wheat.

Anna Whitfield - The host molecules that determine vector competence are not well characterized. We are developing genomics resources for arthropod vectors and these tools will enable us to identify arthropod genes that are important for virus infection.