The goal of the research is to understand how rice blast fungus Magnaporthe interacts with surfaces that mimic the rice leaf. Although this fungus affects significantly rice production, less understood is how the fungus adheres to and interacts with the surface of the rice leaf. To answer this question, we test how the fungus grows on samples made of engineering materials with controlled surface wettability and topography, in collaboration with Dr.
Research will involve using molecular and classical methods to characterize isolates of foliar and root fungal pathogens (biotrophs & necrotrophs) to determine diversity in the populations. Using appropriate isolates to screen crop plant lines, especially dry beans, for resistance to the specific pathogen isolates. Molecular tools will be used to trace the movement of foliar fungal pathogen isolates across states/countries. The lab has state, national and international goals to improve food security.