MARY SMITH

PH.D. STUDENT IN PLANT PATHOLOGY

mjs1282@psu.edu

EDUCATION

B.S., Bioenvironmental Science, Texas A&M University, May 2016, Cum laude

RESEARCH INTERESTS

My undergraduate research at Texas A&M University was on the iconic tree pathogen, Cryphonectria parasitica. I conducted an independent early study of the previously unstudied C. parasitica population in east Texas. The goal was to gain insight of the phenotypic characteristics of the C. parasiticapopulation by observing and comparing the Texas isolates to previously described isolates using statistical analysis on culture morphology, growth rates, and virulence assays. The goal was to enhance a future sequencing study to identify the genetic characteristics of the Texas C. parasiticapopulation that could potentially uncover and describe previously unknown hypovirulent strains. This work lead to an undergraduate honors thesis and a Undergraduate Research Scholar distinction on my Bachelor’s degree.

Fall of 2018, I joined Kevin Hockett’s lab at Pennsylvania State University to study bacteriocins of Pseudomonas syringae as part of the new mBiome Cohort that the Penn State Microbiome Center recruited to study agricultural microbiomes. I have an interest in understanding the evolution of understanding bacteriocins in both plant pathogenic and environmental P. syringae. I am also interested in broad interdisciplinary questions in relation to the phyllosphere microbiome. I hope that a better understanding of these interactions and bacteriocin evolution will lead to important knowledge about plant defense against abiotic and biotic pathogens.

Inspecting a branch for signs of C. Parasitica with Dr. Appel in Eastern Texas for TAMU.

AWARDS

  

  • Bunton-Waller Graduate Assistantship at Pennsylvania State University, 2018.

  • Undergraduate Research Scholar: 2015-2016

  • Bioenvironmental Science (BESC) Undergraduate Research Fellowship: 2015

  • Aggie Transfer Student Scholarship Texas A&M University: 2013