College of Food, Ag & Nat Res Sci
At the USDA-ARS Cereal Disease Laboratory, this group is interested in the processes that control virulence in pathogens and disease resistance in cereal crops. They seek answers to two basic questions: 1) How do pathogenic fungi infect their hosts? and 2) What makes a host plant resistant or susceptible? Through a better understanding of infection and disease biology, the researchers hope to develop new ways to combat agricultural losses due to pathogens.
The lab studies Fusarium Head Blight, one of the most devastating diseases of small grain cereals, with a focus on the interaction between Fusarium graminearum and barley. Research efforts include characterizing host targets of Fusarium effector proteins and reconstructing the signaling networks that operate in host and pathogen during infection. The group uses a variety of molecular profiling, protein-protein interaction, functional genomics, and network biology approaches to study disease etiology.