College of Food, Ag & Nat Res Sci
This research program focuses on host-pathogen research areas to improve crop protection strategies. The researchers are focusing on rust fungi, mainly Puccinia graminis and Puccinia coronata, the causal agent of stem rust and crown rust. The group uses Brachypodium distachyon as a model plant (non-host or pseudo-host) to study rust resistance via transcriptomics approach. In addition, they are working towards generating high quality genome assemblies of P. graminis to serve as reference for the scientific community and help unravel the roots of genomic variation in this pathogen. In a collaborative project, the group aims to uncover the fungal adaptations for wood-decay. For this, various comparative analyses among genomes of three brown and three white rot fungi are undertaken. Analyses include comparisons of levels of gene expression among the fungi.
This research was featured on the MSI website in September 2018: Genomic Studies of Oat Crown Rust.