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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Deborah A Samac (Debby)

Research Plant Pathologist

Deborah Samac


B.A., The ColoradoCollege, Biology

Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, Plant Pathology


Research Interests

  • Disease resistance mechanisms in alfalfa.
  • Identifying genes controlling plant disease defense responses.
  • Plant tissue culture and genetic transformation.
  • Developing alfalfa cultivars for new uses.
  • Improving nutritional quality in alfalfa.
  • Functional genomics in Medicago truncatula.


Current or Planned Experiments

  • Transcript profiling of pathogen interactions with DNA microarrays.
  • Modification of expression of enzymes involved in primary cell wall synthesis.
  • Gene expression analysis from developing seed coats.
  • Survey of Upper Midwestern U.S. for brown root rot disease of alfalfa.


Laboratory Personnel

  • Melinda Dornbusch (Biological Science Laboratory Technician) 
  • Claudia Castell-Miller (Research Associate) 
  • Dawn Foster-Hartnett (University of Minnesota Research Associate)
  • Jenny Larsen (University of Minnesota Research Associate)
  • Lorien Radmer (University of Minnesota Graduate Student)

Last Modified: 8/12/2016
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