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PhD Proposal Exam – Renan Nascimento De Almeida – Monday, September 11th, 2017
September 11 @ 2:10 pm - 3:00 pm
PhD Proposal Exam
Monday, September 11th, 2017 at 2:10 pm – Ramsay Wright Building, Room 432
Renan Nascimento De Almeida (Guttman lab)
“Identification of host specificity factors and population genomics of Pseudomonas syringae”
Almost 16% of the global crop production is lost due to diseases caused by bacterial pathogens. To be a successful pathogen, bacteria must suppress the plant host immune system and maximize nutrient acquisition, which requires highly specific interactions between a pathogen and its host. The study of the evolutionary and functional mechanisms that shape these fine-tuned interactions can provide critical knowledge regarding the genetic components that govern pathogen-host specificity, and this knowledge may improve our ability to interfere with these components to prevent pathogen-associated crop losses. I will study the common bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae, which is an ideal model system for host specificity studies due to the wide diversity of host species it infects and narrow host specificity of individual strains. I will perform a comparative genomics analysis with 501 P. syringae genomes to identify genetic components associated with host adaptation processes and to characterize the evolutionary processes that play a role in shaping the genetic variation of pathogenic populations. Hitherto, my analysis suggests that (1) P. syringae can employ multiple strategies to infect the same host, (2) the genetic components associated with each strategy can be identified through phylogenetic-statistical methods and (3) pathogens that infect the same host using different strategies experience distinct evolutionary dynamics at the population level.