Population Biology of Emerging Fungal Threats to Plants and People
Research in the lab focuses on understanding the genetic basis of emerging fungal threats to plants and people. We are particularly interested in the evolutionary processes that contribute to population-level diversity, to the formation of new species, and to species diversification. We aim to uncover the genetic basis for differences in pathogenicity, virulence, and host specialization within species and among closely-related species. We want to understand differences between agricultural and natural populations of fungal plant pathogens and how agriculture shapes population structure and diversity. We use population genetics, population genomics, comparative genomics, and molecular phylogenetics to answer our questions.
Other interests include phylogeography, fungal mating systems, and using population genetics to solve epidemiological problems in the field including sources of inoculum, pathogen overwintering mode, populations overcoming host resistance, and the evolution of fungicide resistance.