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Anna Whitfield

Professor and Director of Emerging Plant Disease and Global Food Security

Plant virus-vector interactions

Emerging Plant Disease and Global Food Security Cluster

Partners II, Suite 1400


Arthropod vectors play an essential role in dissemination of viruses; more than 70% of plant-infecting viruses are transmitted from one host to another by arthropod vectors. My research is devoted to investigating plant-virus- vector interactions at the molecular level with the goal of developing a better understanding of the complex sequence of events leading to virus acquisition and transmission by vectors. The virus life cycle is inextricably linked to fundamental host processes and this intimate association poses a challenge for plant virologists searching for ways to develop novel control strategies that specifically attack the infection cycle of viruses without compromising the health of host plants. In my lab, we are working with the following arthropod vector and plant virus combinations: 1) Frankliniella occidentalis (Western flower thrips) and Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) and 2) Peregrinus maidis (corn planthopper) and Maize mosaic virus (MMV). Our research goals are to identify insect genes that are important for virus infection of the arthropod vectors using a functional genomics-based approach, develop a better understanding of virus entry and the role of viral glycoproteins in this process, and develop virus and insect resistant plants.





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