Studies on the ecology, genetics, and physiology of plant- microbe, insect, and nematode interactions can reveal important information about the underlying mechanisms of insect feeding, nematode parasitism and pathogen virulence, and plant defenses.  Our researchers are studying the interactions between plants and bacteria, fungi, viruses, nematodes, and insects to decipher complex molecular and physiological mechanisms that will identify genes and gene products mediating these interactions.  The overarching goal of this research is to develop more effective approaches for pest and disease management including genetic selection, mutagenesis, molecular breeding, and transgenic cultivar development through greater understanding of the mechanisms of insect feeding, nematode parasitism, and pathogen virulence.

Figure 1

Figure 1: Walnut twig beetle pupa (A) and the newly emerged adult beetle (B) surrounded by the white fungus Geosmithia morbida, which causes canker in black walnut trees (C)