Skip to main content

Research PBG


Pathogen Biology and Genetics (PBG)


PBG Research Area Committee  Members as of: 1/1/23
Chair, Lisa Vaillancourt, University of Kentucky
Vice-Chair, Guixia Hao, USDA-ARS, IL
Santiago Mideros, University of Illinois
Milton Drott, USDA-ARS, MN


Project Description

Research in this area includes studies that address mycotoxin biosynthesis in vivo or in planta, host/parasite interactions, and host resistance mechanisms that target the pathogen.  Research in PBG should complement and be linked to whole plant research that will lead to disease control and/or toxin reduction strategies.

FY22 Research Priorities Derived from Action Plan Goals:

  1. Identify important genes, proteins or small molecules produced during the plant-fungal interaction that may be used to develop FHB resistance or to reduce DON contamination in barley and wheat.
  2. Develop new understanding about molecular regulators (transcriptome, proteome, metabolome, epigenetic factors) of fungal development (e.g., asexual and sexual development, growth and development, infection structures) during initial infection that may be utilized to boost FHB resistance. This would include mechanisms controlling fungal secretion (ER, Golgi, endosomes, exosomes), and regulators which may be targeted to prevent FHB disease and toxin contaminations in wheat and barley.
  3. Develop an improved understanding of plant-pathogen interactions in relation to abiotic factors, and identify genes or genetic variants that contribute to pathogen adaptation to wheat and barley agroecosystems. Identify molecular mechanisms of fungal adaptation to abiotic and biotic factors influencing FHB and toxin production.
  4. Develop novel RNAi based strategies targeting critical genes for fungal growth, pathogenesis, and/or mycotoxin biosynthesis to control FHB and mycotoxin contamination.
  5. Identify epiphytic or endophytic microbes or microbial communities or viruses that may be useful for development of effective biological control practices for FHB.
  6. Investigate how genotypic and phenotypic diversity in populations of FHB-causing Fusarium, including diversity of Fusarium species complexes, influences the management of FHB. Priority aspects of pathogen diversity include fungicide sensitivity, mycotoxin profiles, and ability to cause severe disease on widely used sources of genetic resistance in wheat and barley. (Collaborative Goal with MGMT)
  7. Document how cropping system factors (climate, residue management, crop rotation) influence both the frequencies of Fusarium species causing FHB within an area and the risk of severe disease. (Collaborative Goal with MGMT)

Current version of Action Plan (Updated:  5/31/19)

Summary of Funding
  FY22 (2022-23) FY21 (2021-22)
Number of Projects: (includes 2 multi-PI projects) 8
Number of PIs: 9 8
Total Award Amount: $381,060 $302,708
% of Total Funding: 4.40% 3.50%
Research Projects: FY22 FY21


Research Reports


Useful Links