PhD Graduate Student
BS in Biochemistry, 2011, SUNY Albany
As soil dwelling hemibiotrophic plant pathogens, Fusaria encounter a vast array of environmental stresses. In order to persist within the soil until a plant host is found and then successfully invade, kill, and assimilate the plant, these pathogens must be capable of properly responding to hostile environmental conditions. The Fusarium oxysporum species complex forms a large group of fungi with varying, but specific, host ranges. The ultimate goal of the Ma Lab's labs work is to identify the genetic mechanisms that determine host range, pathogenicity, and virulence. My work has used a comparative computational biology approach to dissect the kinomes of 12 members of this species complex, as well as other members of the genus Fusaria. Our aim is to highlight the similarities and differences within key signaling pathways responding to stress with the hope of uncovering the genetic mechanisms behind the success of these economically devastating plant pathogens.