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A Role for Oomycete Biology in the
Development of Disease Resistant Soybean

USDA-NIFA Outreach Webcast

May 2015

By John McDowell, Ph.D.
Department of Plant Pathology,
Physiology, and Weed Science
Virginia Tech
Phone: 540-231-2388

Kevin Fedkenheuer
Michael Fedkenheuer, M.S.

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Bio: John McDowell is a professor in the Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science at Virginia Tech. He received his Ph.D. in 1995 from the University of Georgia, under Rich Meagher’s guidance. His dissertation was on the structure, expression, and evolution of actin genes in Arabidopsis. He then entered the Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions field through postdoctoral research in Jeff Dangl’s lab at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. There, he studied the structure, evolution, and signaling of disease resistance (“R”) genes in Arabidopsis, with emphasis on genes against the oomycete pathogen Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis (downy mildew). In 2000, he started his own group at Virginia Tech to continue investigating plant-oomycete interactions. His group explores the mechanisms through which plant cells succumb to manipulation by oomycete pathogens. Current emphasis is upon secreted pathogen effector proteins and their targets inside plant cells, mechanisms through which pathogens extract nutrients from plants, and translation of pathogen genome data into new strategies for disease control. He teaches graduate level courses in Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions and Translational Plant Science, and currently serves as Associate Scientific Director of the Fralin Life Science Institute.

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