Research in my laboratory focuses on the molecular basis of the interaction of tomato with the bacterial pathogen, Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato. This interaction provides a powerful experimental system to address three important questions in plant-pathogen biology: 1) What are the key host components that play a role in the immune response triggered by microbe-associated molecular patterns?; 2) How do plants detect and respond to bacterial virulence proteins that are translocated into the plant cell during the infection process?; and 3) What mechanisms do bacteria use to subvert the plant immune system? To investigate these issues, we use a variety of experimental approaches including genomics, protein biochemistry, cell biology, molecular biology, genetics, gene expression profiling (RNA-Seq), bioinformatics, and structural biology. Our long-term goal is to use the knowledge gained about plant-pathogen interactions to develop plants with increased resistance to diseases thereby lessening the need for pesticides.

Awards and Achievements

  • Noel Keen Award for Excellence in Molecular Plant Pathology, American Phytopathological Society ( 2010)
  • Grand Marnier Foundation Lecturer, Pasteur Institute, Paris ( 2006)
  • Boyce Schulze Downey Professor, Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research ( 2005)
  • Fellow, American Academy of Microbiology ( 2005)
  • ellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) ( 2004)