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Plant Pathology
Plant Pathology Research: Thematic Areas
Disease Diagnosis and Management
  • Disease diagnostics
    • Doug Jardine- Identification and management of disease pests of field row crops.  State Leader for Extension Plant Pathology.

      [Megan Kennelly- Extension/research; turf grass pathology and urban and horticultural plant pathology problems. ]

      Judy O'Mara-  Extension/teaching.  Plant disease diagnostician.  Coordinates the Kansas State Unviersity Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic.  Diagnoses statewide disease problems of horticultural and field crops. 

      Jim Stack- Epidemiology and management of field crop diseases in the Great Plains.  Theory and practice of biological management of plant pathogens and disease. 

      Tim Todd -  Diagnosis and management of nematode diseases of field and horticultural crops.

  • Disease management
    • William Bockus- Participation in development of wheat germplasm resistant to fungal pathogens in Kansas. Effects of various cultural practices (tillage, fertilizers, crop rotations, etc.) on diseases caused by these pathogens. Efficacy of disease-control chemicals on wheat diseases.

      Bob Bowden - Wheat disease management, crop loss assessment.

      Erick De Wolf - Research evaluating the efficacy of disease management strategies including crop rotation, tillage, host resistance and fungicides.  Development of decision tools that will help wheat producers successfully integrate disease management strategies.

      Karen Garrett - Wheat disease management, resistance gene deployment, cultural practices for disease management, IPM in rice-vegetable cropping systems.  For more information see the website of the Plant Disease Ecology Lab.

      Doug Jardine - Identification and management of disease pests of field row crops. State Leader for Extension Plant Pathology. Research interests include seed treatments of grain sorghum and soybeans, management of charcoal rot and Phytophthora root rot on soybeans.

      [Megan Kennelly - Studies on the effects of fertility, aerification, cultivar selection and fungicides for management of large patch of creeping bentgrass.  Evaluation of fungicides, biological controls and cultivar resistance for dollar spot of creeping bentgrass.  Evaluation of application technologies for control of dollar spot of creeping bentgrass.  Evaluation of fungicides for management of brown patch of tall fescue.  Evaluation of organically labeled products for foliar diseases of tomato.]

      Chris Little - Management of fungal diseases of sorghum and soybeans.  Impact of soils, irrigation and nutrition upon charcoal rot processes in Kansas. 

      Jim Stack - Epidemiology and management of field crop diseases in the Great Plains. Theory and practice of biological management of plant pathogens and disease.

      Tim Todd - Durable resistance strategies for the soybean cyst nematode Heterodera glycines.  Crop loss assessment and damage relationships for nematode pests of corn and soybean.

  • Sustainable Agriculture
    • Karen GarrettEvaluation of sustainable cropping system strategies with an emphasis on disease management, adaptation to economic and climate change scenarios.

       

      [Megan Kennelly - Effect of organic and conventional fertility practices on disease development in vegetables grown in high tunnels and open field conditions.]

       

      Dorith Rotenberg - I serve as cooperator on a multidisciplinary project to study the effects of organic fertility management on crop health, soil nitrogen, plant chemistry and taste of vegetables grown under field and high tunnel production.  My role is to perform multivariate statistics to evaluate the interrelationships among plant, soil and crop quality and to teach participating graduate students how to analyze and interpret their data.

Disease Resistance Genetics, Genomics and Biotechnology
  • Cytogenetics/germplasm improvement
    • Bernd Friebe - Transfer of agronomically important genes from wild wheat relatives to cultivated wheats; development, molecular cytogenetic characterization, and maintenance of genetic wheat stocks; analysis of karyotype evolution within the Triticeae.

      Bikram S. Gill -  Molecular mapping of useful genes, wheat genome physical mapping and sequencing

  • Molecular genetics/genomics - Disease Resistance
    • Bernd Friebe - Transfer of agronomically important genes from wild wheat relatives to cultivated wheats; development, molecular cytogenetic characterization, and maintenance of genetic wheat stocks; analysis of karyotype evolution within the Triticeae.

      Bikram Gill - Molecular mapping of useful genes, wheat genome physical mapping and sequencing

      Frank White - The research of Prof. Frank White utilizes molecular genetic and genomic techniques for functional analyses of plant disease and mechanisms of resistance. Complete genome sequencing of plant pathogenic bacteria is used for gene discovery. Targeted mutagenesis techniques are subsequently used for functional analysis. Transcriptional profiling is for gene discovery in rice, sorghum and wheat. RNA-meditated gene silencing and insertional mutanagenesis techniques are employed in the analysis of host/pathogen interactions. Our principle organisms are rice and sorghum with related work in other species including wheat.

  • Plant Biotechnology
    • Harold Trick - Molecular biology and genetic engineering of crop plants with emphasis on wheat and soybean.  Uses transgenic technology as novel methods for crop protection and increase value-added traits. Director of K-State's Plant Transformation Facility and assists other researchers with creating transgenic plants.

    • Frank White - The research of Prof. Frank White utilizes molecular genetic and genomic techniques for functional analyses of plant disease and mechanisms of resistance. Complete genome sequencing of plant pathogenic bacteria is used for gene discovery. Targeted mutagenesis techniques are subsequently used for functional analysis. Transcriptional profiling is for gene discovery in rice, sorghum and wheat. RNA-meditated gene silencing and insertional mutanagenesis techniques are employed in the analysis of host/pathogen interactions. Our principle organisms are rice and sorghum with related work in other species including wheat.

    • John Fellers- Mapping and cloning genes in wheat for resistance to Karnal bunt, leaf rust, stem rust, scab, septoria, Hessian fly and viruses. Genomics approaches to identify new markers and expressed sequence tags for plant disease and insect resistance genes. (bioinformatics)
Epidemiology, Modeling and Microbial Ecology
  • Epidemiology and Microbial ecology
    • William Bockus - Biology of wheat pathogens (life cycles, interactions with other microorganisms, effect of environment) in the laboratory, greenhouse, and field.

    • Erick De Wolf - Influence of environment on the development of wheat disease epidemics.  Research currently focuses on the pathogen reproduction and infection processes.

    • Karen Garrett- Plant disease ecology in agricultural and natural systems, strategies for deployment of disease resistance genes, disease ecology in complex landscapes.  For more information, see the website of the Plant Disease Ecology Lab.

    • Megan Kennelly - Effects of microclimate on development of large patch in zoysiagrass.

    • Chris Little - Soilborne plant pathogens/soil microbiology relating to general and applied aspects of fungal diseases of sorghum and soybeans.  Interest areas include charcoal rot, SDS, stalk rots and pathogen-antagonistic streptomycetes.  Also, fungal pathogens associated with grain mold of sorghum.

    • Tim Todd  - Population and community ecology of soil nematodes, and the use of nematodes as indicators of disturbance and recovery in natural systems.

  • Modeling/statistics
    • Erick De Wolf - Development and delivery of plant disease prediction models (disease forecasting).  Application of decision theory to the management of wheat diseases.

      Karen Garrett - Modeling epidemics in complex landscapes, statistical applications in ecology and ecological genomics.  For more information, see the website of the Plant Disease Ecology Lab.

      Tim Todd  - Population dynamics of soil nematodes and their responses to management practices in agricultural and natural ecosystems.

  • Karen Garrett - Gene expression in native plant communities in response to biotic and abiotic stressors.  For more information see the website of the Plant Disease Ecology Lab. (bioinformatics)

Pathogen and Microbe Genetics, Genomics and Biotechnology
  • Fungal genetics
    • Bob Bowden - Genetics and biology of Fusarium graminearum.

      Richard Todd -  Classical and molecular genetic manipulation of the filamentous fungus Aspergillus nidulans, a model for plant pathogenic fungi and industrial fungi.  Determining the molecular mechanisms of gene regulation in response to nutrient availability, an important factor for pathogenesis.

      Barbara Valent - Genetics and functional genomics of the rice blast fungus, Magnaporthe grisea, and its host, Oryza sativa, with a focus on molecular understanding of the "gene-for-gene" surveillance systems by which plants detect and defend themselves against pathogens. Analysis of the AVR-Pita and Pi-ta resistance gene system for elucidation of recognition and triggering mechanisms, defense signal transduction pathways and defense responses. Understanding avirulence gene functions in the infection process. Population biology of fungal avirulence genes as an aid to R gene deployment.

  • Molecular genetics/genomics - Pathogen and Microbe
    • Richard Todd - Genetics and functional genomics of the filamentous fungus Aspergillus nidulans, a model for plant pathogenic fungi and industrial fungi.  Emphasis on molecular mechanisms of gene function, regulation of transcription factor activity in response to nutrient availability, comparative genomics of fungal transcription regulators and comparative functional genomics of nitrogen regulatory gene networks in plant pathogenic fungi.

    • Chris Toomajian - Population and evolutionary genetics and genomics of plants and plant pathogens.  Analyzes genome-scale DNA polymorphism datasets in order to infer the relative importance of processes such as mutation, recombination, genetic drift, migration and natural selection in creating observed patterns of polymorphisms.  Develops methods to infer recent instances of natural selection at the DNA level in order to identify adaptive genetic variation.  Is interested in methods and datasets that allow for the statistical mapping of quantitative trait loci (complex traits) back to the genome in samples of unrelated individuals.

  • Chris Toomajian - Population and evolutionary genetics and genomics of plants and plant pathogens. Analyzes genome-scale DNA polymorphism datasets in order to infer the relative importance of processes such as mutation, recombination, genetic drift, migration, and natural selection in creating observed patterns of polymorphisms. Develops methods to infer recent instances of natural selection at the DNA level in order to identify adaptive genetic variation. Is interested in methods and datasets that allow for the statistical mapping of quantitative trait loci (complex traits) back to the genome in samples of unrelated individuals. (bioinformatics)
Plant-Microbe Interactions
  • Host Parasite Interactions
    • Dorith Rotenberg - Develop genomics tools for Frankliniella occidentalis the western flower thrips, to identify thrips molecules that interact and respond to Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) infection; use ecological and statistical tools to study the biotic factors that influence efficiency and frequency of transmission to plants.

      Barbara Valent - Genetics and functional genomics of the rice blast fungus, Magnaporthe grisea and its host, Oryza sativa with a focus on molecular understanding of the "gene-for-gene" surveillance systems by which plants detect and defend themselves against pathogens.  Analysis of the AVR-Pita and Pi-ta resistance gene system for elucidation of recognition and triggering mechanisms, defense signal transduction pathways and defense responses.  Understanding avirulence gene functions in the infection process.  Population biology of fungal avirulence genes as an aid to R gene deployment.

      Frank White - The research of Prof. Frank White utilizes molecular genetic and genomic techniques for functional analyses of plant disease and mechanisms of resistance. Complete genome sequencing of plant pathogenic bacteria is used for gene discovery. Targeted mutagenesis techniques are subsequently used for functional analysis. Transcriptional profiling is for gene discovery in rice, sorghum and wheat. RNA-meditated gene silencing and insertional mutanagenesis techniques are employed in the analysis of host/pathogen interactions. Our principle organisms are rice and sorghum with related work in other species including wheat.

      Anna Whitfield - The host molecules that determine vector competence are not well characterized.  We are developing genomics resources for arthropod vectors and these tools will enable us to identify arthropod genes that are important for virus infection.

  • Disease physiology
    • Dorith Rotenberg - Develop genomics tools for Frankliniella occidentalis the western flower thrips, to identify thrips molecules that interact and respond to Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) infection; use ecological and statistical tools to study the biotic factors that influence efficiency and frequency of transmission to plants.

      Barbara Valent - Genetics and functional genomics of the rice blast fungus, Magnaporthe grisea and its host, Oryza sativa with a focus on molecular understanding of the "gene-for-gene" surveillance systems by which plants detect and defend themselves against pathogens.  Analysis of the AVR-Pita and Pi-ta resistance gene system for elucidation of recognition and triggering mechanisms, defense signal transduction pathways and defense responses.  Understanding avirulence gene functions in the infection process.  Population biology of fungal avirulence genes as an aid to R gene deployment.

      Frank White - The research of Prof. Frank White utilizes molecular genetic and genomic techniques for functional analyses of plant disease and mechanisms of resistance. Complete genome sequencing of plant pathogenic bacteria is used for gene discovery. Targeted mutagenesis techniques are subsequently used for functional analysis. Transcriptional profiling is for gene discovery in rice, sorghum and wheat. RNA-meditated gene silencing and insertional mutanagenesis techniques are employed in the analysis of host/pathogen interactions. Our principle organisms are rice and sorghum with related work in other species including wheat.

      Anna Whitfield - The host molecules that determine vector competence are not well characterized.  We are developing genomics resources for arthropod vectors and these tools will enable us to identify arthropod genes that are important for virus infection.

    • Frank White - The research of Prof. Frank White utilizes molecular genetic and genomic techniques for functional analyses of plant disease and mechanisms of resistance. Complete genome sequencing of plant pathogenic bacteria is used for gene discovery. Targeted mutagenesis techniques are  subsequently used for functional analysis. Transcriptional profiling is for gene discovery in rice, sorghum and wheat. RNA-meditated gene silencing and insertional mutanagenesis techniques are employed in the analysis of host/pathogen interactions. Our principle organisms are rice and sorghum with related work in other species including wheat. (bioinformatics)