Welcome to the Cereal Disease Laboratory
We protect small grain cereal crops from the most devastating diseases.
The mission of the Cereal Disease Laboratory is to reduce losses in wheat, oat, and barley to major diseases including leaf rust, stem rust, and Fusarium head blight. This mission is accomplished through research on the biology of the pathogens that cause these diseases and on methods to enhance disease resistance in small grains. Program objectives are to: (1) identify genes used by plants in defense against pathogens and determine their cellular and biochemical mechanisms of action; (2) elucidate molecular aspects of the expression of virulence in rust fungi; (3) identify and utilize rust resistance factors to protect small grain crops against existing and future pathogenic races in rust populations; (4) analyze population genetics of cereal rust fungi and devise strategies to enhance durability of resistance against diverse rust populations; (5) identify and characterize resistance in wheat and barley to Fusarium head blight and determine impacts of partial resistance on pathogen populations in crop residue; and (6) identify genetic factors for pathogenicity in Fusarium and explore ways to block their activity and minimize pathogen attack in small grains.