Studying Fungi to Fight Emerald Ash Borer

Ecology and Environment

MSI PIs Robert Blanchette (professor, Plant Pathology) and Kathryn Bushley (assistant professor, Plant and Microbial Biology), working on a project funded by the Minnesota Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center (MITPPC), are investigating fungi associated with infestation by the emerald ash borer (EAB). EAB is an invasive insect that destroys ash trees and that is a serious problem in Minnesota and other states in the Great Lakes region and central U.S. and. The project seeks to identify fungi that infest trees after EABs have damaged them, as well as those fungi that could control EAB. An article about this research appears on the MITPPC website: Fungal Friends & Foes.

Professor Blanchette uses MSI resources for projects that seek to explore the genomes of various wood-rot fungi in order to understand fundamental questions of mechanisms and ecology. Professor Bushley uses high-performance computing for genome sequencing, RNA-seq, network analysis, phylogenomic analyses, and population genotyping related to studies of fungal pathogens.