Features

Dr. Rebecca Bart  Rebecca Bart, Ph.D., Assistant Member and Principal Investigator, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, Saint Louis, Missouri
Dr. Bart conducted her doctoral research in the Plant Pathology Department at the University of California, Davis, where she worked with Professor Pamela Ronald to elucidate genetic components of the rice innate immune response. Becky then worked as a postdoctoral scholar in Professor Brian Staskawicz's laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley to further understand the molecular and genetic interaction between the important food crop, cassava, and its major bacterial pathogen. In November of 2013, Becky began her own laboratory at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center where she investigates the mechanisms used by hosts and pathogens to recognize and respond to one another and the environment. 
 Professor Sir David Baulcombe

David Baulcombe, Regius Professor of Botany, Royal Society Research Professor, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge
Dr. Baulcombe has wide interests in plant molecular biology. Currently he works on RNA-silencing systems and his group discovered small RNA molecules that have a central role in this process. This discovery influenced new developments in the basic biology of plants and animals. It has also prompted advances in biomedicine and plant biotechnology. Dr. Baulcombe also has interests in disease resistance and he is a member of a consortium investigating ways to mitigate the effects of a sweet potato virus disease in Africa.

Until August 2007 Dr. Baulcombe was a senior research scientist in the Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich. Since then he has been at Cambridge University as Royal Society Research Professor and now as Regius Professor of Botany. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society and a foreign associate member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. His awards include the 2006 Royal Medal of the Royal Society, the 2008 Lasker Award for basic biomedical sciences and the Wolf Prize for Agriculture in 2010. He was knighted in June 2009. Extramural activities include membership of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and in 2009 he chaired a Royal Society policy study on the contribution of biological science to food crop productivity.

 Andreas Bäumler Andreas Bäumler, Ph.D., Professor and Vice Chair of Research, Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of California School of Medicine, Davis, California
Dr. Bäumler received his Doktor der Naturwissenschaften (Ph.D.) in Microbiology at the Eberhard-Karls-Universität, Tübingen, Germany, for work on mechanisms of iron acquisition in Yersinia enterocolitica under the supervision of Dr. Klaus Hantke. He developed an interest in the interaction of Salmonella serotypes with the intestinal mucosa during his postdoctoral training with Dr. Fred Heffron at the Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, OR. After joining the faculty at Texas A&M University Health Science Center in College Station, TX in 1996 he initiated his ongoing studies on the pathogenesis of Salmonella gastroenteritis using bovine and murine models. He further expanded his research after moving to the University of California, Davis, CA in 2005, by developing animal models for typhoid fever and studying mechanisms that dictate the balance between the host and its gut-associated microbial communities. He serves as a permanent member of the NIH Host Interactions of Bacterial Pathogens (HIBP) study section, as an Editor for Infection and Immunity and is a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.
 Dr. Gitta Coaker Gitta Coaker, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Plant Pathology, University of California, Davis, California
Dr. Coaker received a B.S. from the University of Arizona and her Ph.D. from The Ohio State University. Her postdoctoral research at the University of California, Berkeley focused on mechanisms controlling bacterial effector activation inside host cells. Dr. Coaker is currently an Associate Professor and Chancellor's Fellow at the University of California, Davis in the Department of Plant Pathology. Her research program is focused on the dissection of bacterial disease resistance in plants using proteomics approaches. Specifically, her laboratory is interested in understanding plant resistance protein activation and membrane-based immune signaling.
 Dr. Douglas Cook Douglas Cook, Ph.D., Professor, University of California, Davis
Dr. Cook was formerly the Director of the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Genomics Facility at UC Davis and is currently Director of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Climate Resilient Chickpea. He received his doctoral degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison as a bacterial geneticist in the Department of Plant Pathology and conducted postdoctoral research at the Carnegie Institution of Washington’s Department of Embryology at The Johns Hopkins University. He served on the faculty of Texas A&M University from 1992-2000, prior to joining UC Davis, and as an adjunct Professor of International Graduate School in Bioinformatics and Genome Research at the Universitat Bielefeld in Germany from 2002-2008. He was among a small group of colleagues who together pioneered the use of Medicago truncatula as a model genetic and genomic system for investigation of legume biology. For the past decade he has been a leading advocate for the application of basic legume science towards pressing agricultural needs in the developing world.  His current research spans model and crop legume systems, with a dual focus on (1) forward genetics, biochemistry and cell biology to characterize genes governing symbiotic development in M. truncatula, and (2) ecological genomics and association genetics to understand gene function in complex natural and agricultural legume systems.
 Dr. Peter Dodds Peter Dodds, Ph.D., Principal Research Scientist, CSIRO Plant Industry, Canberra ACT, Australia
Dr. Dodds received a Bachelor’s degree in genetics in 1991 and a Ph.D. degree in Botany in 1996 from the University of Melbourne, Australia. As a Science Leader at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation division of Plant industry, he now leads a team focused on understanding rust pathogen biology and host immunity mechanisms and developing genetic tools to improve the control of important rust diseases of wheat. His current research involves the identification of virulence effectors from rust fungi and investigation of their role in disease as well as the molecular basis of pathogen recognition by host immune receptors.
 Dr. Jeffrey Gordon Jeffrey Gordon, M.D., Dr. Robert J. Glaser Distinguished University Professor
Director, Center for Genome Sciences & Systems Biology, Washington University School of Medicine, Saint Louis, Missouri
Jeffrey Gordon is the Dr. Robert J. Glaser Distinguished University Professor and Director of the Center for Genome Sciences and Systems Biology at Washington University. His group has developed new experimental and computational approaches to characterize the assembly and dynamic operations of human gut microbial communities; this work has involved studies of novel gnotobiotic animal models, twins concordant or discordant for physiologic phenotypes, and children and adults representing diverse geographic, cultural and socio-economic conditions. A central question his students are pursuing is how our gut microbiomes contribute to obesity and to childhood undernutrition. Their findings are providing new ways for defining how interactions between food and the gut microbiome impact our health status, revealing how functional maturation of the gut microbiome is related to the healthy growth of infants and children, and helping to usher in a new era of microbiome-directed therapeutics. Gordon has been the research mentor to over 120 PhD students and post-doctoral fellows, and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the American Philosophical Society.
  Maria Harrison, Ph.D., Professor, Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, Ithaca, New York
Dr. Harrison is the William H. Crocker Professor at the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research located at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. She holds an Adjunct Professorship in the Department of Plant Pathology and Plant Microbe Biology at Cornell University. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne (UK) and her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Applied Molecular Biology from the University of Manchester, Institute of Science and Technology (UK). Her research combines genetics, genomics and cell biology approaches to dissect the symbiotic association of plants and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi.
 Dr. AnjaliIyer-Pascuzzi Anjali Iyer-Pascuzzi, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana
Dr. Iyer-Pascuzzi received a Bachelor’s degree in Molecular Environmental Biology from UC Berkeley, a Master’s in Plant Pathology and a PhD in Plant Breeding and Genetics, both from Cornell University. During her post-doctoral work at Duke, she developed an imaging and phenotyping system for non-destructively quantifying root system architecture and used systems biology approaches to investigate the intersection of root development and environmental stress.  She joined Purdue’s Department of Botany and Plant Pathology in January 2013, where her research focuses on elucidating the molecular mechanisms and gene regulatory networks underlying root responses to biotic stresses.
 Dr. Pradeep Kachroo Pradeep Kachroo, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Plant Pathology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky
Dr. Kachroo is a Professor at the University of Kentucky in the Department of Plant Pathology.  Dr. Kachroo’s research focuses on elucidation of signaling mechanisms underlying host defense against pathogens. His group has made several novel and highly significant discoveries, including identification of glycerol-3-phosphate and free radicals as critical signals in systemic acquired resistance and has also demonstrated that oleic acid, photoreceptors and cuticle play an active role in defense signaling. Dr. Kachroo is on the editorial boards of several journals and recipient of the 2014 Noel T. Keen Award for Research Excellence in Molecular Plant Pathology.
 Dr. Sophien Kamoun Sophien Kamoun, Ph.D., Senior Scientist and Head, The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich Research Park, United Kingdom
Twitter @KamounLab http://twitter.com/kamounlab
Dr. Kamoun joined The Sainsbury Laboratory in 2007 and rose to Head of Laboratory in 2009. He is also Professor of Biology at The University of East Anglia. He received his B.S. degree from Pierre and Marie Curie University, Paris, France, and his Ph.D. from the University of California at Davis in 1991. Kamoun was on the faculty at the Ohio State University before joining TSL. Kamoun made crucial discoveries about oomycete pathogenicity by identifying several classes of disease effectors, developing a mechanistic understanding of how effectors modulate plant immunity, and establishing how antagonistic coevolution with host plants impacts pathogen genomes. His work on oomycete effector biology and pathogenomics has resulted in new approaches to breeding disease resistant crops.
 Dr. Ksenia Krasileva Ksenia V. Krasileva, Ph.D., AFRI-NIFA Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Plant Sciences, University of California, Davis, California
Dr. Krasileva received her Bachelor’s degree in Plant Genetics and Microbiology from University of California, Berkeley. She received her Ph.D. from Brian Staskawicz’s group also at UC Berkeley where she elucidated the molecular mechanisms of plant-pathogen interactions. As an integral part of her Ph.D., she studied Genomics and Computational Biology. Currently, Ksenia leads the development of functional genomics tools for wheat in the Dubcovsky lab at UC Davis. She applies modern genomic tools to investigate plant innate immunity and to improve disease resistance.
 Barbara Kunkel, Ph.D. Barbara Kunkel, Ph.D., Professor, Biology, Washington University in Saint Louis, MO
Dr. Kunkel received her undergraduate degree in Genetics from the University of California at Davis.  She carried out her Ph.D. research under the guidance of Dr. Richard Losick at Harvard University where she studied the developmental regulation of gene expression during sporulation in Bacilllus subtilis.   Dr. Kunkel entered the field of plant-microbe interactions when she joined Dr. Brian Staskawicz’s lab at the University of California at Berkeley as a postdoctoral fellow where she was a member of the research team that identified and cloned the RPS2 disease resistance gene from Arabidopsis.  Dr. Kunkel became a faculty member in the Biology Department at Washington University in St. Louis in 1994.  Her current research focuses on the strategies used by bacterial plant pathogens to modify the biology of their hosts during pathogenesis.
 Dr. Jennifer Lodge Jennifer Lodge, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Molecular Microbiology, Associate Dean for Research, Washington University in Saint Louis School of Medicine, Saint Louis, Missouri
Dr. Lodge has been Associate Dean for Research and Professor of Molecular Microbiology at Washington University School of Medicine since 2009. She focuses her research on the fungus, Cryptococcus neoformans, which causes meningitis in immune-compromised individuals. Her laboratory has identified biochemical processes of the fungal cell wall that are essential for fungal survival that are being targeted for novel antifungal therapies and vaccines. Dr. Lodge earned her Ph.D. at Washington University in 1988, was a postdoctoral researcher at both Monsanto Company and Washington University, and a faculty member at Saint Louis University. 
 Dr. Mary Beth Mudgett Mary Beth Mudgett, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, California
Dr. Mudgett received her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Ithaca College and her doctorate in biochemistry from the University of California in Los Angeles.  During her postdoctoral studies with Dr. Brian Staskawicz at University of California Berkeley, she developed biochemical tools and evidence demonstrating bacterial (Pseudomonas and Xanthomonas) type III secretion in Arabidopsis and tomato.  At Stanford University, her laboratory employs biochemical, genetic, and cell biological approaches to elucidate the function of Xanthomonas type III effector proteins in susceptible tomato hosts. Her research has uncovered novel mechanisms by which microbes suppress plant immune signaling.
 Dr. Pamela Ronald Pamela Ronald, Ph.D., Professor, Plant Pathology, University of California, Davis and Director of Grass Genetics, Joint Bioenergy Institute, University of California, Emeryville, California
Dr. Ronald is Director of the Laboratory for Crop Genetics Innovation at the University of California, Davis. Her laboratory has engineered rice for resistance to disease and tolerance to flooding, which seriously threaten rice crops in Asia and Africa. She and her colleagues were recipients of the USDA 2008 National Research Initiative Discovery Award for their work on rice submergence tolerance. In 2012, Ronald was awarded the Louis Malassis International Scientific Prize for Agriculture and Food and the Tech Award for innovative use of technology to benefit humanity. Ronald is coauthor of “Tomorrow's Table: Organic Farming, Genetics, and the Future of Food”. Bill Gates calls the book “a fantastic piece of work”.
 Stijn Spaepen, Ph.D. Stijn Spaepen, Ph.D., Post-doctoral Associate, Dr. Schulze-Lefert’s group, Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, Cologne, Germany
Dr. Spaepen received both a Master’s and Ph.D. degree in Bioscience engineering from the University of Leuven (Belgium) under supervision of Professor Jos Vanderleyden.  During these studies and as a first post-doc at the same university, he studied the role of bacterial auxin biosynthesis and signaling in bacteria-plant interactions. In 2013, he joined Dr. Paul Schulze-Lefert’s group of the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research (Cologne, Germany) to study the structure and functional role of the root microbiota especially under nutrient-deficient conditions.
 Dr. Daniel Voytas Daniel Voytas, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Genetics, Cell Biology & Development; Director, Center for Genome Engineering, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Campus
Dr. Voytas’ laboratory develops methods to modify genes and genomes in vivo.  In 2005, he co-founded the Zinc Finger Consortium, a group of academic scientists focused on creating open-source platforms for engineering zinc finger nucleases for targeted mutagenesis.  More recently, his lab developed a superior class of sequence-specific nucleases – Transcription Activator-Like Effector Nucleases (TALENs) – which was heralded by Science magazine as one of the top ten scientific breakthroughs of 2012.  Dr. Voytas’ lab is currently optimizing methods for efficiently making targeted genome modifications in a variety of plant species to advance basic biology and develop new crop varieties.
 Dr. David Wang David Wang, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Molecular Microbiology and Department of Pathology and Immunology, Washington University in Saint Louis School of Medicine, Saint Louis, Missouri
Dr. Wang received a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry from Stanford University, a doctorate in Biological Chemistry from MIT, and did his postdoctoral research in virology and genomics at University of California, San Francisco.  His lab at Washington University in Saint Louis has focused on discovery and characterization of novel viruses from humans, animals, and environmental niches.
 Dr. Cyril Zipfel Cyril Zipfel, Ph.D., Senior Group Leader, The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich, United Kingdom
Dr. Zipfel is a Senior Group Leader and Head of The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich (UK). After performing his doctoral and post-doctoral research in the laboratory of Thomas Boller and Jonathan Jones, respectively, he started his independent group at The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich (UK) in 2007. His work is focused on understanding the molecular basis of plant innate immunity mediated by surface-localized immune receptors. His research is multidisciplinary and unifies concepts and methods from pathology, immunology, microbiology, molecular plant biology, genetics, biochemistry, and biotechnology. In 2012, he was awarded a prestigious and competitive European Research Council Starting grant.
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