I am a Teaching Instructor with primary responsibilities in the undergraduate program in plant biology. I currently teach the core curriculum introductory course, Plant Science. I also teach the course, Plant Pathology Laboratory. I am also involved with teaching Molecular Genetics Laboratory, a core curriculum requirement within the biotechnology undergraduate program. In addition to my teaching duties, I have administrative duties associated with Horticultural Therapy Certificate Program. My main research interests involve plant pathological problems, especially those focusing on the molecular basis of interactions between plant-associated bacteria and eukaryotic hosts. I am currently associated with four different research projects:
1. Bacterial/Fungal Interactions ? In collaboration with Dr. Donald Kobayashi and Bradley Hillman, I have been involved in research using Lysobacter enzymogenes as a model bacterial system to study pathogenic interactions with fungal hosts. Recent work includes the whole genome expression patterns of fungi during interactions with the antagonistic bacteria.
2. Bacterial leaf scorch (BLS) of oak ? caused by Xylella fastidiosa subsp. multiplex. We are investigating genetic populations of the pathogen in the greater northeastern United States to understand better the epidemiology, and possible control methods. This study, in collaboration with Dr. Ann Gould, focuses on genetic characterization of X. fastidiosa populations not only infecting oak, but also other plant and insect host species in the region.
3. Detection and characterization of bacterial wilt of blueberry caused by Ralstonia solanacearum, an emerging disease in blueberry (In collaboration with Dr. Peter Oudemans). In our recent work, we are comparing the genome of a R. solanacearum strain recovered from diseased blueberry in New Jersey, with previously characterized Ralstonia species genomes. We hope to utilize generated data to better understand the sudden emergence of this disease in New Jersey.
4. Detection and characterization of bacterial pathogens causing blackleg and soft rot of potato in New Jersey. In collaboration with Dr. Andy Wyenandt, we are participating in a 2017 growing season survey of potato farms to detect the presence of blackleg and potato soft rot caused by Dickeya spp. and Pectobacterium spp. This survey is in response to the emergence of the economically devastating disease epidemic caused by Dickeya solani that occurred in Europe in recent years.
Title and Address:
Department of Plant Biology
School of Environmental and Biological Sciences,
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Primary Focus Area: Natural Products and Human Health