We are interested in how, when, and where microbes compete for space and resources within a host environment. Tripartite microbe-microbe-host interactions are critical in numerous ways, particularly in the context of plant and animal disease. By recognizing and responding to resident microbes, hosts provide uniquely dynamic environments in which the ecology of competition unfolds. To address these interactions, we use on a combination of genetics, molecular biology, genomics, phylogenetics, and other approaches applied to the model plant pathogen, Pseudomonas syringae. Like most bacterial taxa, P. syringae encodes a number of anti-competitor factors, including a diverse suite of proteinaceous toxins known as bacteriocins. These toxins are narrow spectrum in their target range, making it possible to disentangle specific strain-by-strain interactions from non-specific interactions, such as resource competition. Additionally, P. syringae strains exhibit varying degrees of plant-host specificity, allowing us to assess the influence of a hostile or permissive environment on a given microbe-microbe interaction.
The Pennsylvania State University
Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology
Office: 316 Buckhout Lab
Lab: 315 Buckhout Lab
University Park, PA 16802
Work phone: 814-865-7448