Dr. Peter DiGennaro
My program is rooted in molecular plant nematology. I utilize genomic, genetic and biochemical tools to elucidate the mechanisms by which nematodes cause plant disease and impact crop yield. My research is largely focused on the root-knot nematode (RKN; Meloidognye spp.) due to the genomic tools available and the agricultural impact of this nematode within the state of Florida and world-wide. RKN invade plant roots, migrate intracellularly, and form feeding sites known as Giant Cells from plant parenchyema cells. My research aims to identify and characterize the nematode signaling molecules involved in this intimate symbiosis as well as the host responses to nematode parasitism.