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Think and Do The Extraordinary
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Alejandra Huerta

Assistant Professor

Varsity Research Building


In the lab we take a basic and applied research approach to study the biology underlining bacteria-plant and bacteria-microbiome interactions with the long term goal of better understanding how plant pathogens infect their host and translating these finding into sustainable crop management strategies. At the molecular, cellular, organismal and population levels, the Huerta Lab seeks to understand how microbial interactions among plant associated bacteria affect plant responses that ultimately impact plant health and crop yields. By providing a systems-level understanding of plant phytobiomes we want to develop tools and host/microbiome models that enable plant breeders and microbial ecologists to predict beneficial interactions to achieve improved yields and plant resilience in changing environments.

Specifically, our research program encompasses two complementary lines of research based on microbial population dynamics from both the plant and pathogen sides:

  1. A systems level approach to investigate the biology, ecology and evolution of plant associated bacteria in the context of niche specialization and competition.
  2. Effector-induced susceptibility as a quantitative trait for durable disease resistance.

Our research goal is to advance our scientific understanding of the interacting components that influence the survival, establishment, and suppression of plant pathogenic bacteria within the context of the plant microbiome. Our research, teaching and extension program serves the public, including but not limited to stakeholders, students, and junior scientists.



PP501: Biology of Plant Pathogens

PP502: Plant Disease: Methods & Diagnosis

PP755: Breeding for Disease Resistance (2022)