ALEXANDER, KATHLEEN

Department of Fisheries and Wildlife 
Phone: 540-231-5059
E-mail: kathyalx@vt.edu
Research: Wildlife disease; ecosystem health

BADGLEY, BRIAN

Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences
Phone: 540-231-9629
E-mail: badgley@vt.edu
Research: Environmental microbiology and microbial ecology; patterns of microbial diversity and community structure in the environment; ecological function provided by microbial communities; fate and transport of microbes in ecosystems.

FALKINHAM, JOSEPH O., III

Department of Biological Sciences
Phone: 540-231-5931
E-mail: jofiii@vt.edu
Research: Geographic distribution, habitats, ecology and physiological ecology of the water- and soil-borne human, animal, and bird pathogenMycobacterium avium (listed on the EPA Candidate Contaminant List, CCL). Current focus on (1) mechanism of chlorine-resistance, (2) basis for intracellular growth in protozoa and amoebae, and (3) metabolism of humic and fulvic acids.

HAGEDORN, CHARLES

Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences
Phone: 540-231-4895
E-mail: chagedor@vt.edu
Research: Fate and transport in the environment of microorganisms with public health significance; development of microorganisms to control plant pathogens and reduce disease severity on important crops in Virginia. Study of public perception issues and concerns related to applications in agriculture and environmental biotechnology.

KNOWLTON, KATHARINE

Department of Dairy Science
Phone: 540-231-5287
E-mail: knowlton@vt.edu
Research: Environmental issues associated with animal agriculture, including nutrient pollution of ground and surface water and odor emission. Impact of nutrition and herd management on nutrient losses from dairy farms. Ruminant starch digestion and glucose metabolism. Ruminant fiber digestion.

BOYER, RENEE

Department of Food Science and Technology
Phone: 540-231-4330
E-mail: rrboyer@vt.edu
Research: Pre and post harvest interventions to enhance the safety of fresh and fresh cut fruits and vegetables. Specifically: 1) Internalization ofSalmonella and/or E. coli O157:H7 into tomatoes and leaf lettuces. 2) The use of high pressure processing and other alternative processes to inactivate pathogenic bacteria on produce. 3) Effect of modified atmosphere packaging on control of foodborne pathogens on fresh and fresh cut produce.

EIFERT, JOE

Department of Food Science and Technology
Phone: 540-231-3658
E-mail: jeifert@vt.edu
Research: 1) Develop methods to prevent bacterial foodborne pathogens from contaminating poultry processing plant environments and reduce the level of these pathogens on live birds and finished products; and 2) Determine ways to improve the microbiological quality and shelf life of ready-to-eat poultry products and fruits and vegetables through design of appropriate microbiological sampling techniques and sampling plans.

PONDER, MONICA

Department of Food Science and Technology
Phone: 540-231-5031
E-mail: mponder@vt.edu
Research: Microbial ecology of agricultural systems (water, soil, fresh produce), Epidemiology and food safety, Reservoir ecology of human enteric pathogens.

WILLIAMS, ROBERT

Department of Food Science and Technology
Phone: 540-231-4106
E-mail: rcwillia@vt.edu
Research: Detection and control of bacterial pathogens and spoilage microorganism on fresh produce and in fruit juices.

ADELMAN, ZACH, N.

Department of Entomology 
Phone: 540-231-6614
E-mail: zachadel@vt.edu
Research: Genetic control strategies for vector-borne disease agents; virus-vector interactions between arboviruses (dengue viruses, Sindbis) and mosquitoes; molecular biology, genetics and transformation of the vector mosquito, Aedes aegypti.

ALEXANDER, KATHLEEN

Department of Fisheries and Wildlife 
Phone: 540-231-5059
E-mail: kathyalx@vt.edu
Research: Wildlife disease; ecosystem health

ALLEN, IRVING COY

Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology
Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine
Phone: 540-231-7551
E-mail: icallen@vt.edu
Research: Host-pathogen interactions and mucosal immunology. Research in our lab focuses on families of pattern recognition receptors that sense pathogens and initiate signaling cascades that drive the host immune response. We are interested in a diverse range of pathogenic bacteria, viruses and fungi that target the respiratory and gastrointestinal systems.

BOYLE, STEVEN

Center for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Diseases
Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine
Phone: 540-231-4641 (4155)
E-mail: smboyle@vt.edu
Research: Identification of bacterial and viral genes that can be used to attenuate the microbe or can be incorporated into genetically engineered delivery systems for the purposes of eliciting a protective immune response. Attenuation and genetic engineering of Brucella species and expression of capsid proteins of hemorrhagic enteritis virus in Salmonella and plants for purposes of oral vaccination.

CASSERA, MARIA BELEN

Department of Biochemistry
Phone: 540-231-4149
E-mail: bcassera@vt.edu
Research: Our laboratory uses liquid chromatography in tandem with mass spectrometry for metabolite analysis in Plasmodium falciparum (malaria parasite) and Trypanosoma cruzi (Chagas' disease, American trypanosomiasis). The primary goal of our research is to understand the basis of host-parasite interactions by studying the biological action of inhibitors and other molecules such as metabolic modulators at the metabolic level, and to establish relationships with changes in protein and transcript levels.

CASWELL, CLAYTON

Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology
Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine
Phone: 540-231-5591
E-mail: caswellc@vt.edu
Research: Our research in focused on the alpha-proteobacterium Brucella abortus, and on characterizing the genetic mechanisms that enable this pathogen to live inside of host macrophages during a chronic infection. We are particularly interested in how small regulatory RNAs (sRNAs) impact the biology of Brucella, and our current studies are focused on determining the genetic circuitry of a subset of recently identified Brucella sRNAs, as well as how these sRNAs contribute to Brucella pathogenesis.

FALKINHAM, JOSEPH O., III

Department of Biological Sciences
Phone: 540-231-5931
E-mail: jofiii@vt.edu
Research: Molecular epidemiology, virulence determinants, and vaccine development of Mycobacterium avium, a human, animal, and bird pathogen. Current focus on (1) development of molecular typing methods, (2) mechanisms of adaptation to intracellular parasitism, and (3) mechanisms of resistance to antimicrobial agents.

INZANA, THOMAS

Department of Biomedical Sciences & Pathobiology
Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine
Phone: 540-231-4692
E-mail: tinzana@vt.edu
Research: Investigation of genes involved in lipooligosaccharide phase variation in the pathogen Haemophilus somnus and the capsule ofFrancisella tularenis. Determination of the host immune response to these components, and identification of factors responsible for bacterial virulence and resistance to host defenses. Vaccine development and improved molecular diagnostic tests for identifying these bacteria is a key application.

KLEMBA, MICHAEL

Department of Biochemistry
Phone: 540-231-5729
E-mail: klemba@vt.edu
Research: We are interested in understanding how the human malaria pathogen Plasmodium falciparum thrives inside its host erythrocyte. Our focus is the biochemistry and cell biology of hemoglobin degradation in the parasite’s degradative organelle, the food vacuole. Ultimately, we hope to identify potential new targets for anti-malarial drug development.

KNOWLTON, KATHARINE

Department of Dairy Science
Phone: 540-231-5287
E-mail: knowlton@vt.edu
Research: Environmental issues associated with animal agriculture, including nutrient pollution of ground and surface water and odor emission. Impact of nutrition and herd management on nutrient losses from dairy farms. Ruminant starch digestion and glucose metabolism. Ruminant fiber digestion.

LEROITH, TANYA

Department of Biomedical Sciences & Pathobiology
Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine
Phone: 540-231-7627
E-mail: tleroith@vt.edu
Research: Immunopathogenesis of infectious disease. Research in our lab focuses on the ability of viruses to modulate the immune response and avoid protective immunity, or enhance clinical disease. Current viruses being studied include porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus, porcine circovirus type 2, and hepatitis E virus.

LI, LIWU

Department of Biological Sciences 
Phone: 540-231-1433
E-mail: lwli@vt.edu
Research: Research in my lab focuses on the signaling events controlling the innate immunity, infection, and inflammation. Alteration in innate immunity has been recognized to contribute to various human diseases including cancer and atherosclerosis.

MELVILLE, STEPHEN

Department of Biological Sciences
Phone: 540-231-1411
E-mail: melville@vt.edu
Research: Molecular pathogenesis of diseases caused by the anaerobic bacterium, Clostridium perfringens. The emphasis is on C. perfringens' interactions with host phagocytic cells and the regulation of virulence factors that lead to tissue infections and food poisoning caused by the bacterium.

MENG, X.J.

Center for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Diseases
Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine
Phone: 540-231-6912
E-mail: xjmeng@vt.edu
Research: Molecular mechanisms of viral replication and pathogenesis and developing vaccines against viral diseases, particularly emerging, re-emerging and zoonotic viral diseases. Viruses currently being studied in Dr. Meng's lab include human, swine and avian hepatitis E viruses, porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus, and porcine circovirus.

MULLARKY, ISIS

Department of Dairy Science 
Phone: 540-231-2410
E-mail: mullarky@vt.edu
Research: Mucosal immunology and infectious disease.  Our current research is focused on determining how Staphylococcus aureus alters the coagulation cascade and immune responses.  The identification of the mechanisms regulating fibrin deposition during infection will provide new targets for both the prevention of dissemination and abscess formation during staphylococcal infections. Furthermore, the study of immune responses to bacterial infections will provide new insight into controlling pathogens at the acute stage of infection thereby preventing the establishment of chronic infection. Current studies include identifying the role of fibrin deposition during infection of the mammary gland and evaluating immune responses in cattle.

NANTHAKUMAR, N. NANDA

Department of Biomedical Sciences & Pathobiology
Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine
Phone: 540-231-0767
E-mail: nanda@vt.edu
Research: Bi-directional communication between enteric microbes and intestinal mucosa in health and disease. Research in our lab focuses on elucidating the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which specific component of the gut microbes regulate mucosal immune development, intestinal homeostasis, susceptibility to age-specific infection and inflammatory diseases, such as atopic diseases, autism spectrum disorders and obesity. Specifically how mucosal glycosylation, host genetics, circulating hormones, specific diet, prebiotic supplements and probiotic therapy regulates: (i) microbial succession after birth and weaning; (ii) susceptibility to infection and inflammatory conditions; and (iii) development of digestive and neural system.

PAULSON, SALLY

Entomology Department
Phone: 540-231-8035
E-mail: spaulson@vt.edu
Research: My primary research interests are in the area of mosquito biology and arbovirology. Specific projects examine behavioral and environmental risk factors for La Crosse encephalitis virus and factors influencing the vector competence of mosquitoes for viruses. Additionally, I am working with the Virginia Department of Health to develop and implement a state-wide surveillance program for West Nile virus.

PECCOUD, JEAN

Virginia Bioinformatics Institute
Phone: 540-231-0403
E-mail: peccoud@vt.edu
Research: Our group develops the molecular toolboxes, theoretical framework, software environment, and high-throughput laboratory processes needed to enable the computer assisted design of synthetic genetic systems in microorganisms. We focus on the development of tunable protein expression systems for various biomedical application. We are also developing a generic pipeline to develop just-in-time biodefense countermeasures in response to an emerging infectious disease or biological threat.

POPHAM, DAVID

Department of Biological Sciences
Phone: 540-231-2529
E-mail: dpopham@vt.edu
Research: Structure, synthesis, and hydrolysis of the peptidoglycan wall components of vegetative cells and endospores. Studies utilize the model Gram-positive eubacterium, Bacillus subtilis, and the pathogens Bacillus anthracis and Clostridium perfringens. Molecular genetic techniques are used to identify and manipulate the genes encoding the penicillin-binding proteins that polymerize the peptidoglycan. Biochemical methods are used to examine the activities of these proteins and the peptidoglycan structural alterations associated with genetic and phenotypic changes. Potential applications of this research are in antibiotic design and in spore-killing during food preservation.

SCHUBOT, FLORIAN

Department of Biological Sciences
Phone: 540-231-2393
E-mail: fschubot@vt.edu
Research: Structural microbiology. By way of protein crystallography in conjunction with microbiology we aim to decipher the molecular basis for virulence of bacterial pathogens. The gained insights will be applied towards reaching our ultimate goal: the structure-based development of potent antimicrobial agents.

SLADE, DANIEL

Department of Biochemistry
Phone: 540-231-2842
E-mail: dslade@vt.edu
Research: More than 15% of carcinomas can be attributed to known infectious agents such as bacteria and viruses. Fusobacterium nucleatum is a Gram-negative bacterium that is significantly overrepresented in the colonic tissue of patients with colorectal cancer. we will be working at the interface of chemistry and biology to determine the role of the microbiome in cancer.

SOBRADO, PABLO

Department of Biochemistry
Phone: 540-231-9485
E-mail: psobrado@vt.edu
Research: We are interested in understanding the mechanism and regulation of enzymes. This includes, dissecting the contributions of substrate binding and protein-protein interactions to catalysis, determining the structure of the transition state and the mechanism of substrate selectivity. Our research integrates a variety of techniques from molecular biology, protein expression and purification, steady and pre-steady state kinetics, computational modeling, x-ray crystallography, and UV/visible and fluorescence spectroscopies.

SRIRANGANATHAN, NAMMALWAR

Center for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Diseases
Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine
Phone: 540-231-7171 (4002); FAX: 540-231-3426
E-mail: nathans@vt.edu
Research: Identification of protein antigens involved in the protection againstBrucella and Pasteurella infections. Food safety issues with Salmonella.

STEVENS, ANN

Department of Biological Sciences
Phone: 540-231-9378
E-mail: ams@vt.edu
Research: The Stevens lab works in the general field of molecular microbiology with an emphasis on bacterial environmental sensing and gene regulation. The majority of the research projects focus on the phenomenon of bacterial quorum sensing, a mechanism whereby bacterial cells communicate with one another through the use of small molecules called autoinducers. By understanding this mode of bacterial signal transduction and gene regulation, methods to manipulate it in ways beneficial to society may be discovered. Historically our group has studied quorum sensing in the symbiotic bioluminescent bacterium Vibrio fischeri. Current work in the laboratory, using modern molecular-based techniques, involves studies about quorum sensing in the corn pathogen (Pantoea stewartii) and a foodborne human pathogen (Vibrio parahaemolyticus).

XU, BIN

Department of Biochemistry
Phone: 540-231-1449
E-mail: binxu@vt.edu
Research: We are interested in host-pathogen interactions, such as
mechanisms of viral evasion of host immune defense. Currently we work to
gain molecular and structural insights into how human herpesviruses (such
as cytomegalovirus) can hijack host innate immunity (such as Natural Killer
cells-based immune surveillance mechanisms). We also perform research
to discover novel viral evasion genes and their host targets. We use an
integrated approach, including structural, molecular, immunological and
proteomic methods.

YUAN, LIJUAN

Center for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Diseases
Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine
Phone: 540-231-9053
E-mail: lyuan@vt.edu
Research: Mucosal immunology in viral infection and vaccines. Currently, research in my lab include studying the mechanisms of probiotic lactobacilli’s stimulatory and regulatory effects on the development of innate and adaptive immune responses induced by human rotavirus infection and vaccines; studying the causal role of dual viral and bacterial infection in the intestinal inflammation and intussusception in infants and young children using neonatal gnotobiotic pigs as models; and generation of plasmid-based reverse genetics system of porcine and human rotaviruses to study the determinants of pathogenicity and attenuation markers of rotaviruses and to develop new generations of rotavirus vaccines.

CASWELL, CLAYTON

Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology
Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine
Phone: 540-231-5591
E-mail: caswellc@vt.edu
Research: Our research in focused on the alpha-proteobacterium Brucella abortus, and on characterizing the genetic mechanisms that enable this pathogen to live inside of host macrophages during a chronic infection. We are particularly interested in how small regulatory RNAs (sRNAs) impact the biology of Brucella, and our current studies are focused on determining the genetic circuitry of a subset of recently identified Brucella sRNAs, as well as how these sRNAs contribute to Brucella pathogenesis.

DEAN, DENNIS

Department of Biochemistry
Phone: 540-231-5895
E-mail: deandr@vt.edu
Research: Assembly and function of metalloclusters. Three major projects involve (1) analysis of the catalytic mechanism of nitrogenase (2) mechanism for the assembly of simple Fe-S clusters, for example, 2Fe-2S and 4Fe-4S clusters that participate in a variety of cellular functions and (3) biological formation of micromagnets by certain microorganisms.

FALKINHAM, JOSEPH O., III

Department of Biological Sciences
Phone: 540-231-5931
E-mail: jofiii@vt.edu
Research: Genetic basis for (1) high frequency switching between virulence types, (2) mechanisms of plasmid transfer between Mycobacterium species, and (3) role of plasmids in ecology, physiology, and virulence ofMycobacterium avium.

HERNICK, MARCY

Department of Biochemistry
Phone: 540-231-2842
E-mail: hernickm@vt.edu
Research: The overall goals of our studies is to better understand the mechanisms that contribute to the pathogenicity of mycobacteria, to identify and characterize novel drug targets, and to synthesize inhibitors with the potential to function as novel antibiotics. Two potential defense mechanisms our lab is interested in are mycothiol biosynthesis and metal ion homeostasis. Mycothiol (MSH) is the unique thiol used by mycobacteria to protect against oxidative damage, while metal ion homeostasis (more specifically iron levels) has been shown to greatly impact disease progression in tuberculosis infections.

KENNELLY, PETER

Department of Biochemistry
Phone: 540-231-4317
E-mail: pjkennel@vt.edu
Research: Regulation of protein function by phosphorylation-dephosphorylation in the Archaea and cyanobacteria. Determination of the physiological role(s) this reversible modification plays in the life of these organisms and the structure and mechanisms of the protein kinases and phosphoprotein phosphatases that carry it out. The long term goal is to apply knowledge of prokaryotic protein phosphorylation events to achieving a global understanding of the origins and evolution of this important biological regulatory mechanism.

MELVILLE, STEPHEN

Department of Biological Sciences
Phone: 540-231-1411
E-mail: melville@vt.edu
Research: Molecular pathogenesis of diseases caused by the anaerobic bacterium, Clostridium perfringens. The emphasis is on C. perfringens' interactions with host phagocytic cells and the regulation of virulence factors that lead to tissue infections and food poisoning caused by the bacterium.

MUKHOPADHYAY, BISWARUP

Department of Biochemistry
Phone: 540-231-8015
E-mail: biswarup@vt.edu
Research: Experimental Functional Genomics and Mechanistic Biochemistry. The overall goal is to study the ecophysiology of a target microorganism and the biochemical basis of microbial diversity. His work has an emphasis on understanding the evolutionary processes as well.

MYLES, KEVIN

Department of Entomology 
Phone: 540-231-6158
E-mail: mylesk@vt.edu
Research: Molecular genetics of innate antiviral immune responses and virus-mediated modulation of innate immune responses in the mosquito. The long-term goal of this research is to develop novel methods for controlling arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses) based on understanding at the molecular level the virus-vector interactions occurring in the mosquito.

PECCOUD, JEAN

Virginia Bioinformatics Institute
Phone: 540-231-0403
E-mail: peccoud@vt.edu
Research: Our group develops the molecular toolboxes, theoretical framework, software environment, and high-throughput laboratory processes needed to enable the computer assisted design of synthetic genetic systems in microorganisms. We focus on the development of tunable protein expression systems for various biomedical application. We are also developing a generic pipeline to develop just-in-time biodefense countermeasures in response to an emerging infectious disease or biological threat.

POPHAM, DAVID

Department of Biological Sciences
Phone: 540-231-2529
E-mail: dpopham@vt.edu
Research: Structure, synthesis, and hydrolysis of the peptidoglycan wall components of vegetative cells and endospores. Studeis utilize the model Gram-positive eubacterium, Bacillus subtilis, and the pathogens Bacillus anthracis and Clostridium perfringens. Molecular genetic techniques are used to identify and manipulate the genes encoding the penicillin-binding proteins that polymerize the peptidoglycan. Biochemical methods are used to examine the activities of these proteins and the peptidoglycan structural alterations associated with genetic and phenotypic changes. Potential applications of this research are in antibiotic design and in spore-killing during food preservation.

SCHARF, BIRGIT

Department of Biological Sciences
Phone: 540-231-0757
E-mail: bscharf@vt.edu
Research: The research in our laboratory is focused on bacterial motility and chemotaxis using the nitrogen-fixing plant symbiont Sinorhizobium meliloti as model organism. Chemotaxis is based on perception and processing of environmental information by receptors and signal transduction via a two-component-system to the flagellar motor. The molecular mechanisms of swimming, chemoreception, and signal transduction differ from the enterobacterial pardigm.

SCHUBOT, FLORIAN

Department of Biological Sciences
Phone: 540-231-2393
E-mail: schubot@vt.edu
Research: Structural microbiology. By way of protein crystallography in conjunction with microbiology we aim to decipher the molecular basis for virulence of bacterial pathogens. The gained insights will be applied towards reaching our ultimate goal: the structure-based development of potent antimicrobial agents.

SOBRADO, PABLO

Department of Biochemistry
Phone: 540-231-9485
E-mail: psobrado@vt.edu
Research: We are interested in understanding the mechanism and regulation of enzymes. This includes, dissecting the contributions of substrate binding and protein-protein interactions to catalysis, determining the structure of the transition state and the mechanism of substrate selectivity. Our research integrates a variety of techniques from molecular biology, protein expression and purification, steady and pre-steady state kinetics, computational modeling, x-ray crystallography, and UV/visible and fluorescence spectroscopies.

STEVENS, ANN

Department of Biological Sciences
Phone: 540-231-9378
E-mail: ams@vt.edu
Research: The Stevens lab works in the general field of molecular microbiology with an emphasis on bacterial environmental sensing and gene regulation. The majority of the research projects focus on the phenomenon of bacterial quorum sensing, a mechanism whereby bacterial cells communicate with one another through the use of small molecules called autoinducers. By understanding this mode of bacterial signal transduction and gene regulation, methods to manipulate it in ways beneficial to society may be discovered. Historically our group has studied quorum sensing in the symbiotic bioluminescent bacterium Vibrio fischeri. Current work in the laboratory, using modern molecular-based techniques, involves studies about quorum sensing in the corn pathogen (Pantoea stewartii) and a foodborne human pathogen (Vibrio parahaemolyticus).

TU, JAKE

Department of Biochemistry
Phone: 540-231-8062
E-mail: jaketu@vt.edu
Research: My laboratory is interested in studying the genomic diversity generated by transposable elements, both at a population genomic level and at a comparative/evolutionary genomic level. We have been mainly working with two species of mosquitoes, the African malaria mosquito, Anopheles gambiae, and the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti.

WANG, XIAOFENG

Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science
Phone: 540-231-1984
E-mail: reachxw@vt.edu
Research: Positive-strand RNA viruses [(+)RNA viruses] are the largest viral class, including the vast majority of plant viruses as well as many important human and animal pathogens, such as hepatitis C virus and SARS coronaviru. My lab uses engineered Brome mosaic virus (BMV)-yeast and BMV-N. benthamiana systems to study viral RNA replication and virus-host interactions. BMV, essentially the replication protein 1a, induces perinuclear ER membrane invaginations into the ER lumen to form viral replication compartments. Understanding how BMV modulates host membrane rearrangement and lipid synthesis to accommodate these alterations will reveal underlying functional and structural similarities among all (+)RNA viruses. The goals are to advance our understanding of the viral RNA replication mechanism and develop broad-spectrum antiviral strategies.

WHITE, ROBERT

Department of Biochemistry
Phone: 540-231-6605
E-mail: rhwhite@vt.edu
Research: Work in my lab is concerned with the biosynthesis, structure, function, and genetics of the coenzymes. At present, our work is focused on the coenzymes in the hyperthermophilic methanoarchaea Methanococcus jannaschii, a member of recently defined third kingdom of organisms on our planet. We are trying to develop an unified theory to understand how the biosynthesis of the coenzymes and thus metabolism, has evolved on our planet by studying the evolution of their biosynthetic enzymes in this organism as compared with other organisms.

YANG, ZHAOMIN

Department of Biological Sciences
Phone: 540-231-1350
E-mail: zmyang@vt.edu
Research: Bacterial locomotion and signal transduction; Myxococcus xanthusinter- and intra-cellular signaling in fruiting and gliding motility (bacterial SURFACE motility WITHOUT the flagellum). Twitching motility and pathogenesis of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

HONG, CHUAN

Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science
Phone: 757-363-3908
E-mail: chhong2@vt.edu
Research: Our research interests encompass applied and basic aspects of plant pathology including molecular characterization and detection of plant pathogens, investigation of basic pathogen biology and ecology, epidemiology and ornamental disease management. Current areas of interest include characterization and detection of plant pathogens in recycling irrigation systems, ecology and epidemiology of ornamental diseases, biological and economic thresholds of waterborne pathogens for major nursery crops, and integrated control strategies.

JOHNSON, CHARLES

Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science
Phone: 434-292-5331
E-mail: spcdis@vt.edu
Research: Biology and management of tobacco cyst nematodes (Globodera tabacum solanacearum). Management of tobacco diseases, particularly blue mold (Peronospora tabacina), black shank (Phytophthora parasitica var. nicotianae), collar rot (Sclerotinia sclerotiorum), and damping-off/sore shin (Rhizoctonia solani).

McDOWELL, JOHN

Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science
Phone: 540-231-2388
E-mail: johnmcd@vt.edu
Research: Plants can be exploited for "free meals" by a wide variety of pathogens and pests. They have responded to this pressure by evolving inducible defense responses such as programmed cell death and antibiotic production at the site of infection. These immune responses are triggered by a sensitive, genetically complex surveillance system comprised of "R genes" that recognize specific molecules from the pathogen (conceptually analogous to an antibody-antigen interaction). My research focuses on the interaction between Arabidopsis and its natural pathogen Peronospora parasitica(downy mildew).

SCHARF, BIRGIT

Department of Biological Sciences
Phone: 540-231-0757
E-mail: bscharf@vt.edu
Research: The research in our laboratory is focused on bacterial motility and chemotaxis using the nitrogen-fixing plant symbiont Sinorhizobium meliloti as model organism. Chemotaxis is based on perception and processing of environmental information by receptors and signal transduction via a two-component-system to the flagellar motor. The molecular mechanisms of swimming, chemoreception, and signal transduction differ from the enterobacterial pardigm.

STEVENS, ANN

Department of Biological Sciences
Phone: 540-231-9378
E-mail: ams@vt.edu
Research: The Stevens lab works in the general field of molecular microbiology with an emphasis on bacterial environmental sensing and gene regulation. The majority of the research projects focus on the phenomenon of bacterial quorum sensing, a mechanism whereby bacterial cells communicate with one another through the use of small molecules called autoinducers. By understanding this mode of bacterial signal transduction and gene regulation, methods to manipulate it in ways beneficial to society may be discovered. Historically our group has studied quorum sensing in the symbiotic bioluminescent bacterium Vibrio fischeri. Current work in the laboratory, using modern molecular-based techniques, involves studies about quorum sensing in the corn pathogen (Pantoea stewartii) and a foodborne human pathogen (Vibrio parahaemolyticus).

STROMBERG, ERIK

Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science
Phone: 540-231-7871
E-mail: elstrom@vt.edu
Research: Gray leaf spot resistance in maize involves the evaluation of maize germplasm for resistance to gray leaf spot caused by Cercospora zeae-maydis. Reduction of the economic impact of take-all caused byGauemannomyces graminis var. tritici on Virginia wheat production. Evaluation of various chemical and biological seed treatments for control of disease in wheat to control seedling diseases, improve seedling vigor, control powdery mildew, and barley yellow dwarf virus.

TOLIN, SUE

Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science
Phone: 540-231-5800
E-mail: stolin@vt.edu
Research: Biology, genetics and diversity of plant pathogenic viruses, and control through understanding and deploying resistance mechanisms and management practices. Current programs with soybean mosaic and other viruses in soybean and viruses of hot pepper in Jamaica.

VINATZER, BORIS

Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science
Phone: 540-231-2126
E-mail: vinatzer@vt.edu
Research: Gram-negative plant pathogens share one fundamental virulence mechanism with Gram-negative animal pathogens: a Type III Secretion System (T3SS). Plant pathogens use a T3SS to secrete virulence factors, called effectors, either into the extra-cellular plant environment or directly into the cytoplasm of plant cells. Like secret agents in a foreign country they remain undetected by some host plants and succeed in manipulating the host in order to create an environment favorable to pathogen growth. We study the evolution and the role in host range of genomic regions containing T3SS effectors in closely related P. syringae strains.

WANG, XIAOFENG

Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science
Phone: 540-231-1984
E-mail: reachxw@vt.edu
Research: Positive-strand RNA viruses [(+)RNA viruses] are the largest viral class, including the vast majority of plant viruses as well as many important human and animal pathogens, such as hepatitis C virus and SARS coronaviru. My lab uses engineered Brome mosaic virus (BMV)-yeast and BMV-N. benthamiana systems to study viral RNA replication and virus-host interactions. BMV, essentially the replication protein 1a, induces perinuclear ER membrane invaginations into the ER lumen to form viral replication compartments. Understanding how BMV modulates host membrane rearrangement and lipid synthesis to accommodate these alterations will reveal underlying functional and structural similarities among all (+)RNA viruses. The goals are to advance our understanding of the viral RNA replication mechanism and develop broad-spectrum antiviral strategies.

WELBAUM, GREG

Department of Horticulture
Phone: 540-231-5801
E-mail: welbaum@vt.edu
Research: One project seeks to identify how fungus are able to cause seeds of some orchid species to germination. We are trying to identify genes expressed during the early stages of orchid seed germination in response to fungal colonization. We have a project with a private company to develop seed treatments to improve seed germination and seedling growth. We are investigating natural defense mechanisms that seeds have against pathogenic attack. We are investigating whether systemic acquired resistance to disease can be induced in seeds prior to germination.

YODER, KEITH

Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science
Phone: 540-869-2560 Ext 21
E-mail: ksyoder@vt.edu
Research: Fireblight management; Diseases resistance and susceptibility of new apple cultivars; Fruit fungicide activity spectrum and fungal resistance management.

ZHAO, BINGYU

Department of Horticulture
Phone: 540-231-1146
E-mail: bzhao07@vt.edu
Research: Plants can be attacked by various microbial pathogens resulting in disease. However, most plants are resistant to many microbes through their immune system. Plant disease resistance often conforms to a “gene-for-gene” system. In such systems, resistance results from molecular recognition between the products, either direct or indirect, of the plant resistance gene and the corresponding microbial effector gene. In my lab, we are studying the molecular interactions of plant resistance proteins and the microbial effector proteins expressed by both Xanthomonas and Pseudomonas bacterial pathogens.