Gleason, Cynthia, Jun.-Prof.
Junior Professor of Molecular Plant Science
- 2003: Ph.D., University of California, Davis, USA
- 2003-2006: Postdoctoral fellow, John Innes Centre, Norwich UK
- 2006- 2010: Postdoctoral fellow, CSIRO, Perth, Australia
- Since March 2011: Jr. Professor, Georg-August-University Göttingen
Major Research Interests
My group is interested in studying the interactions between root-knot nematodes and their host plants. Root-knot nematodes are endoparasites that can infect the roots of a large number of different plant species, and they can cause billions of dollars in crops losses each year. The nematode enters the plant root and migrates to the vascular cylinder where it can alter plant cells into feeding structures called giant cells. To further understand how these parasites can evade plant defences and establish their feeding structures, we study two species of root-knot nematodes, Meloidogyne incognita and Meloidogyne hapla, and the model host plant Arabidopsis. On the nematode side of the interaction, we are interested in determining the genetic components of the nematode that allow it to manipulate plant defence pathways and successfully infect plants. On the plant side of the interaction, we are interested in the phytohormone responses triggered during nematode infections. Phytohormones are chemical messengers with diverse roles in growth and development, as well as in biotic stresses responses. The nematodes may be manipulating hormones to alter plant defences and/or change developmental pathways to establish the giant cells. My lab uses approaches such as gene expression analyses, generation and characterization of transgenic Arabidopsis plants, and heterologous expression of nematode genes in bacteria, to further our understanding of the plant/pathogen interaction at the molecular level.
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Selected Recent Publications