Biol 1771*

Special Topics in Biology: Plant-Associated Microbes - Friends or Foes?

1.0 unit

Barbara N. Kunkel, Ph.D.

Professor of Biology

Plant and Microbial Biosciences Program
Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis Program
Molecular Genetics and Genomics
Description:This is a new research-based laboratory course offered by Dr. Barbara Kunkel in the Biology Department. The small class size and laboratory setting of the course is intended to foster development of student-professor mentoring relationships. Research Question: Microbial communities play very important roles in the lives of plants and animals. For example, in nature as well as in agricultural settings, the communities of microorganisms that grow near or on plants influence the growth and overall health of the plant. These plant-associated microbial communities are highly complex, and are comprised of thousands of different species, including bacteria and fungi. However, neither the role of individual microbial species within the larger microbial community, nor how such a community is beneficial to plants, is well understood. Natural microbial communities contain many potential pathogenic organisms that can potentially infect and cause disease on their hosts. This fact leads to the