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We study plant-pathogen interactions, especially the host's active, if unwitting, role in disease development. We work with powdery mildew disease on model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, using mutational analysis to identify host factors required for successful disease development. We also study a new area of plant-pathogen biology, non-host resistance that protects all members of a plant species from all members of a pathogen species. Results from both these projects highlight the importance of both active and passive defenses operating in the host cell wall.

Our Research

We are broadly interested in plant-microbe interactions. However, we focus on powdery mildew diseases caused by fungi in the Erysiphaceae; primarily the Arabidopsis powdery mildew disease caused by Golovinomyces cichoracearum and the barley powdery mildew disease caused by Blumeria graminis f. sp. hordei.

Somerville Leads International Research Team

Two UC Berkeley scientists will lead a team of international researchers to obtain genome sequences for 11 powdery mildew fungi, a key step forward in managing a pesky pathogen that causes billions of dollars in agricultural losses each year, if untreated.
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