INTRODUCTION TO RESEARCH PROJECTS Image of soybeans in the field

Soybean Cyst Nematode:
The soybean cyst nematode (SCN), Heterodera glycines, is the major pest of commercially grown soybean in the United States. It is estimated that root infection by SCN is responsible for a yield loss of between 250 million and one billion dollars annually. A better understanding of early gene responses in soybean nematode infection and the resulting defense response or lack thereof increases the number and kinds of approaches that can be used to control pathogen infection of soybean. The knowledge gained from this research will aid in the development of new approaches with the potential to greatly increase the yield of soybean and its use in different crop rotations and soil conditions.

Nematode Infected Soybean Roots
Nematode infected roots 1 day Nematode infected roots 2 days Nematode infected roots 4 days
Nematode infected roots 8 days Nematode infected roots 12 days Nematoded infected roots 30 days

Bean Rust: MPMI cover germinating spores
Bean rust, Uromyces appendiculatus, is currently an economically destructive pathogen of dry beans, Phaseolus vulgaris. Our long-term goal is to characterize disease resistance and identify virulence factors and virulent host responses to rusts. First, however, we must identify the U. appendiculatus proteins that evoke changes in the plant host. Our objectives are designed to reveal candidate surface and extracellular proteins of U. appendiculatus that might interact with host proteins to initiate resistant or susceptible responses.

Abscission: GUS stained leaf abscission zone
Premature separation (abscission) of flowers and fruit reduces the potential yield of many crops. We study the molecular and genetic mechanisms involved in abscission with the goal of engineering plants possessing beneficial abscission characteristics that not only increase yield but also reduce harvesting costs. Ethylene is a plant hormone that controls many aspects of abscission and senescence. Ethylene physiology and signal transduction are an important part of our abscission studies.


Publications by Topic:

Soybean leaf abscission RNA-seq results:

Sequences deposited in the NCBI nucleotide database:

Supplemental files for bean rust publications:

Excel spreadsheets for SCN Affymetrix GeneChip results:

(updated 12/2016)