Research Projects

Research Projects Ascospore discharge

Fusarium graminearum shoots its spores out of small water cannons, called asci.  One of our major projects is investigating the way these cannons work.  We would like to design controls to stop ascospore discharge, as many plant pathogens rely on this phenomenon to start an epidemic.

Perithecium Development
Fusarium graminearum produces fruiting bodies on the surface of crop residues in the field.  It turns out that the development of these perithecia is intimately tied to the host life cycle.

Fusarium graminearum produces many secondary metabolites.  One of them functions as a pathogenicity factor to kill the plant.  One is an estrogen mimick and will bind to the human estrogen receptor.  There are more than 50 of these compounds, many unique to this species.  What are they used for?  How do they impact the life cycle?  A primary focus of our lab is to answer these questions.