B.ValentUniversity Distinguished Professor, Department of Plant Pathology, Kansas State University, USA
Monday, January 14, 8:45 AM / Town & Country Ballroom

Talk Title: "Genome Dynamics of a Cereal Killer: Strategies for Controlling Ancient and Emerging Crop Diseases"

Bio:

Barbara Valent is a University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Plant Pathology at Kansas State University. She earned a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Colorado, studying signal molecules from the oomycete pathogen Phytophthora sojae that trigger defenses in soybean plants. While pursuing yeast molecular genetics as a post-doctoral researcher at Cornell University, she began developing the rice blast fungus, Magnaporthe oryzae Oryza pathotype, as a model system for molecular genetic analysis of fungal plant pathogens. This set the course for the rest of her career. As a research scientist at the DuPont Company from 1985 to 2001, Barbara worked to understand blast pathogenicity and rice resistance mechanisms and to develop novel dis-ease control strategies. At Kansas State University since 2001, she has combined molecular cell bi-ology and genomics to better analyze how the blast fungus causes disease on rice and other cereal crops including wheat. Since 2009, she has led research on wheat blast, a devastating new disease that emerged in Brazil in 1985. Movement of wheat blast fungus, M. oryzae Triticum pathotype, to Bangladesh in 2016 underscores the critical importance of developing integrated management strat-egies for this disease, which now threatens wheat production on a global basis. Genomic studies are revealing the evolutionary potential of fungal plant pathogens such as M. oryzae to evade our attempts at disease control. Barbara is a Fellow of both the American Phytopathological Society and the AAAS.

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