Plants defend themselves from attack by disease, but microbes can overcome existing plant defenses, so there is a continual arms race. Plants also need strategies to take advantage of beneficial microbes. Understanding how plants and microbes interact is key to maintaining or improving crop yields, an important area of research as the world population increases.
Fundamental and Translational Science
Both detrimental and beneficial plant-microbe interactions are impacted by changes in the physical environment and ecosystem composition.
Several of our labs carry out fundamental or translational work that promotes agricultural and ecosystem productivity and sustainability. Some of our research includes powdery mildew fungi; how plants recognize disease and activate immunity; and how plant cells communicate with each other.