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Research Details: Glenn Lab
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Pre-Harvest: Glenn

 Dr. Glenn’s research primarily addresses why certain fungal species are so well adapted to their environments.  Why are they able to survive, outcompete, and proliferate while other fungal species cannot?  Fungi are very well adapted to their respective environments and ecological niches, and the Glenn lab seeks to identify and understand how they have adapted and what genes and enzymatic processes confer the fitness needed to survive in their environments.  Most of Dr. Glenn’s research has focused on Fusarium species associated with agricultural crops, with a particular focus on Fusarium verticillioides and its association with corn, its primary host.  Through molecular genetics he has investigated the capacity of F. verticillioides to produce secondary metabolites such as the fumonisin mycotoxins, and he’s been at the forefront of elucidating the impact of fumonisin production on corn.  He’s also studied unique physiological traits that allow fungi to tolerate low oxygen conditions, and as a result produce nitrous oxide, a major greenhouse gas.  Other interests include how Fusarium tolerates xenobiotic compounds it encounters in nature, including the recruitment of enzymatic activities not previously documented in fungi.  By understanding the genetics and biochemistry of how F. verticillioides overcomes its environmental challenges, new strategies can be identified to minimize the impact of this fungus on corn production, especially as it relates to production of mycotoxins such as fumonisins and the contamination of corn with these metabolites.  Such mycotoxin contamination has significant health and economic consequences for humans and animals.