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TheResearch Goalfor this project isto survey and investigate the role of EHB in two distinct phytopathogenicFusariumspecies complexes that affect US agricultural products:Fusarium graminearum(Fg), causal agent of Fusarium head blight in wheat and barley and Giberella ear and stalk rots in maize, andFusarium oxysporumf.sp.lactucae(Fol), causal agent of Fusarium wilt of lettuce.In 2012, a ranking of the most important plant pathogens according to fungal pathologists placedF. graminearumandF. oxysporumas fourth and fifth.We know that endophyticFusariumspp. can harbor EHB and that phytopathogenicFusariumspp. have documented interactions with bacteria that alter disease development.Yet no one has investigated EHB in plant pathogenicFusariumspp. on a broad scale, especially between twoFusariumspp. with such different disease cycles and lifestyles.The work proposed here will be the jumping off point for a research program that dives into the molecular mechanism ofFusarium-bacterial interactions, how they impact plant health in important crops, and applying this knowledge for better and more sustainable disease control.Research ObjectivesSurvey and identify EHB from two agriculturally relevantFusariumspp. that are from key pathogen groupsFusarium graminearum(Fusarium head blight) in small grains from New YorkFusarium oxysporumf. sp.lactucae(Fusarium wilt) in lettuce from ArizonaDetermine if pathogenicity and virulence of selectedF. oxysporumisolates depend on EHB presenceInvestigate bacterial genes required for association of EHB with fungal hosts by creating an RB-TnSeq library of a Fusarium-associated bacteriumThecareer goal of the PD is to become a plant pathology research and teaching faculty member at a land-grant institution to contribute to the community-driven mission of these institutions and do molecular research on questions with applied impact. As such, theTraining Goalsfor the PD include research, teaching,mentoring, and extensionobjectives that will enable the PD to become an independent researcher.Having worked on fungi, plants, and bacteria, and armed with the skills derived from the following objectives, the PDwill be primed to lead research on the impact of fungal-bacterial interactions on plant health, including teaching and mentoring the next generation of plant and microbial scientists.Training ObjectivesResearch Training:The PD will improve bioinformatics, microbiology, and plant pathology skills by doing assays and consulting with the mentor and collaborators.Teaching: The PD will practice and reflect on teaching by participating in workshops and giving guest lectures in relevant courses.Mentoring:For the duration of the project,the PDwillhave atleast oneundergraduate (or high school) student mentee to develop mentorship practices that will be applicable to an independent position.Extension Outreach:The PD will connect with stakeholders through the Yuma Center of Excellence for Desert Agriculture to ground the research project in the needs and knowledge of farmers, and to share any useful information derived from it.

Carter, M. E.
University of Arizona
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