Professor and Director of Graduate Programs – Plant Pathology
Ecology and molecular biology of plant virus-insect vector interactions
The overarching, long-range goal of my research is to diminish plant virus disease epidemics by generating and mining new knowledge derived from insect vector and virus genomes to develop specific and durable ‘green biotechnological’ breakthroughs to manage crop disease. Two plant-virus- vector systems are the focus of my projects: tomato-thrips- orthotospoviruses and maize-aphids- cereal viruses. The specific project goals are to determine how vector insects respond to plant virus infection, to identify novel anti-insect and anti-viral strategies for controlling virus diseases by targeting their gene products, and to help secure the food supply by informing and improving virus disease management decisions based on a more comprehensive understanding of virus epidemics and pathogen/vector dynamics.