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My research combines genomics and molecular biology to understand the intersection of effector biology and immune perception in Gram-positive plant-associated pathogens and their plant hosts.

Comparative Genomics of Clavibacter Bacteria

With the decreasing costs of sequencing, comparative genomics is reaching a new era where hundreds to potentially thousands of microbes can be sequenced at once. This provides incredible power to formulate hypotheses about the functional contribution of bacterial loci to a biological process. This work uses emerging technologies to develop a robust genomic dataset and enable hypothesis generation of functional contribution of effector driven host range.

Plant Immune Perception of Gram-positive Bacteria

The plants we encounter every day are always seemingly healthy. But under the right conditions, they can get sick. To combat disease, they have developed innate immune systems to perceive potential pathogens and respond accordingly to limit disease development. This has been studied extensively in many microbes and pathogens except for Gram-positive actinobacterial pathogens. This work focuses to characterize the potential for immune perception and response to these pathogens.

Develop Tools to Functionally Assess Effector Contribution

Computation predictions can be incredibly powerful to point researchers in the right direction of what to study for a particular process or phenotype. However, they are only predictions. In order to assess if these hypotheses are supported, we need molecular tools to test them. This work is aimed at developing genetic and biochemical tools that function for bacteria of the Clavibacter genus and potentially other Gram-positive actinobacterial pathogens.