Research Interests

My research is concerned with the interaction of bacteria with plants, and more specifically, the interaction of Agrobacterium with its wide variety of host plants. Agrobacterium, the cause of crown gall tumors, genetically engineers plants by transferring a piece of its tumor inducing plasmid into the host plant where the bacterial DNA is integrated into the plant cell chromosome and expressed. The expression of the bacterial genes confers new properties on the transformed cells. These properties are stably inherited in subsequent generations. We are attempting to unravel various aspects of this unique prokaryotic-eukaryotic interaction. Specifically, we are attempting to understand, in molecular terms, the mechanism by which Agrobacterium recognizes plant signals and then activates a set of genes which are involved in the transfer of DNA. Our research program is also focused on the transfer of DNA transfer both inside the bacterial as well as inside the plant cell. Since Agrobacterium is the major mechanism for genetically engineering plants, we are constantly attempting to optimize this system of gene transfer for industrial applications.

Membership Type


Election Year


Primary Section

Section 62: Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences

Secondary Section

Section 44: Microbial Biology