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Plant Pathology and Microbiology

The Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology is engaged in education and research on all aspects of plant pathology, plant disease management, and microbiology. The department confers BS, MS, and PhD degrees through offering a range of courses that address the biology of all microbes, including fungi, bacteria, nematodes, viruses, viroids and phytoplasma, as well as Plant Pathology, Plant Disease Control, and Applied Microbiology, with the aim to equip the students with a solid background in plant pathology and microbiology. The department faculties and research teams address the needs from growers and the quarantine agency to solve immediate agricultural problems, which involve the development of molecular techniques for rapid diagnosis of plant diseases and the strategies for efficient management of plant diseases. In addition, we investigate microbial ecology and the mechanisms underlying the development of both infectious and non-infectious plant diseases by applying classical and cutting-edge technologies. The department also emphasizes on the study of microbial diversity and the applications of microbial resources, with special interest on the analysis of secondary metabolites, the identification of physiologically active substances, and the development of microbial agents for organic agriculture.
The department focuses research in five main fields:

  1. Plant pathology and plant medicine: The study of plant pathology, pathogenic microbiology, disease cycles, disease transmission, disease diagnosis, diseases transmitted by vectors, non-infectious disease; the development of techniques for plant health quarantine and inspections, non-pesticidal management, healthy seedling production, molecular breeding, disease resistant transgenic plants.
  2. Basic microbial research: Microbiomes of different ecosystems; microbial taxonomy, ecology, molecular phylogeny, and population genetics; microbial reproduction physiology, signal transductions, and population interactions; microbial genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics.
  3. Plant-microbe interactions: Mechanisms underlying pathogenesis of microbial pathogens, plant immunity, plant resistance, plant-microbe interactions.
  4. Techniques for molecular detection of microbes: Preparation of monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies; development of techniques for detection and identification based on immuno-assays, PCR, and real-time quantitative PCR.
  5. Applied microbiology: Construction and applications of vectors; analysis of microbial secondary metabolites and their applications for the improvement of human health; microbial fermentation, development of biopestides and other microbial agents for organic agriculture.