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About Us

Phytobacteriology

pto

Pseudomonas syringae infection on tomato (left) and Arabidopsis (right)

Our lab focuses on plant pathogenic bacteria including:
  • Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato  
    • infects Arabidopsis thaliana, Nicotiana benthamiana, and cause bacterial speck on tomato
  • Pantoea spp.
    • infects several Allium spp. and causes rotting diseases on onion
  • Xanthamonas citri pv. malvacearum and causes bacterial blight on cotton

Bacterial pathogens are largely infect plants indirectly through wounds and natural openings.  Infections can have devastating effects on a variety of crops.  Some symptoms of various bacterial diseases include:

  • Wilt
  • Fruit/Leaf spots
  • Galls
  • Soft rot
  • Stem/Leaf Blight

The phytobacteriology course offered to graduate students, PATH 6290/L, teaches students about isolation, identification, inoculation, biology, and control of plant pathogenic bacteria.  The lab portion will explore basic microbiological and molecular techniques to studying these pathogens.

bacterial diseases

Crown Gall (Agrobacterium tumefaciens) (top left), Pierce’s Disease on grape (Xylella fastidiosa) (top right), Soft Rot of Potato (Erwinia carotovora subsp. atroseptica) (bottom left) Wilt disease of tomato (Ralstonia solanacearum)

Research

Research in our lab focuses on understanding the mechanisms of plant immune action on bacteria.  More specifically, we are interested in understanding how plant immunity effects the pathogenic bacteria.  We hope to uncover the various processes by which plants restrict the colonization of phytobacteria.  As a phytobacteriology lab in Georgia, we also research bacterial pathogens in important Georgia crop commodities such as center rot of onion and bacterial blight of cotton. We hope to get a better understanding of the mechanisms of infection for these diseases in order to improve management strategies to control these devastating diseases. Our research aims to analyze the molecular plant-microbe interactions of various phytopathogenic bacteria.  We use bacterial genetic and genomic engineering, transcriptome analyses, pathogenicity and host range assays to investigate these research objectives.  Our lab also develops new genetic tools that can facilitate our research.

Current Projects

Transcriptomics of Immune Action on Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato

Pantoea ananatis Phylogeny and Phsyiology

Translocation Restoration and Countering PAMP-triggered Immunity

Seed Transmission and Host Resistance to Bacterial Blight of Cotton

Effectorology