Research Molecular Biologist
The overall goal of my laboratory is to provide molecular tools and integrated phylogenies needed for timely identification and treatment of nematode outbreaks in alfalfa, harvested forages and associated rotation crops, weeds, and grasses. This project includes fundamental research needed to fill gaps in knowledge regarding the diversity of nematodes and their relationship with beneficial or harmful endophytes in the rhizosphere.
Development of novel methodologies for identifying and classifying plant-parasitic nematodes, including PCR, diagnostic assays and phylogenies based upon ribosomal, mitochondrial, or new protein coding genes (such as Hsp90).
Discovery and characterization of novel molecular targets from nematodes or host plants that may be manipulated by transgenic methods for the purpose of bioengineering nematode-resistant cultivars.
Novel molecular markers and assays that provide rapid, accurate, and reliable identifications of nematode species and pathotypes will aid regulatory agencies and other nematologists in making scientifically-based management and quarantine decisions. These identification tools will facilitate the continued export of billions of dollars of agricultural products while preventing the introduction or spread of dangerous pathogens.
Identification and characterization of genes involved in essential nematode life processes will uncover novel targets for nematode control. Likewise, the identification of host plant genes expressed in response to nematode infection will reveal additional targets or markers that may be used to increase host resistance to nematodes.
Second-stage juvenile of the Northern Root-Knot Nematode, a pest of alfalfa
Free Nematology Resource!
Dr. Skantar has contributed a new section to "Introduction to Nematodes," a multimedia resource for nematology instruction. Dr. Skantar's section describes molecular diagnostics methods for identification of nematodes. The slideshow can be downloaded for free from the following web sites: