Ph: (706) 546-3119
Fax: (706) 546-3116
Ph.D. University of Georgia, Plant Pathology
M.S. University of Georgia, Plant Pathology
B.S. Auburn University at Montgomery, Biology
As a Research Plant Pathologist with the Toxicology & Mycotoxin Research Unit, my research focuses on the basic biology, genetics, and physiology of endophytic fungi and their interactions with host plants.
Most of my work focuses on interactions of the mycotoxin-producing fungus Fusarium verticillioides with it's primary host, corn (=Zea mays). The primary objectives have addressed aspects of endophytic colonization and the metabolic activity of the fungus. For example, understanding when and why the fungus produces fumonisin mycotoxins is important since the metabolite causes severe disorders in horses, swine, and other animals, including cancer in rats and mice. As another example, the fungus also has the ability to metabolize (detoxify) antimicrobial compounds produced by corn, which is significant since this ability to biotransform these phytochemicals may provide a competitive advantage to F. verticillioides in cornfield environments.
Larry A. Pierce, M.S.
Biological Science Laboratory
Ph: (706) 546-3188