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Jessie Fernandez

Assistant Professor

  • Teaching Interests
    • PCB 3134 - Eukaryotic Cell Structure and Function
  • Education
    • BS: Biology, Metropolitan University, San Juan, Puerto Rico
    • MS: Crop Protection, University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez, Puerto Rico
    • PhD: Plant Pathology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Nebraska
    • Postdoctoral training: Department of Molecular Biology, UT Southwestern Medical Center. Dallas, Texas
  • Description of Research

    My research interest is based on understanding how plant pathogens grow inside the host cell, suppress, or evade host defenses and cause disease. To investigate this, we use a fungal model organism known as Magnaporthe oryzae, the causal agent of rice blast disease. During early stages of infection, M. oryzae initiates the timely secretion of a repertoire of small proteins into rice cells to suppress or evade host pathogen surveillance. The identification and molecular mechanisms of these proteins are unknown but could provide targets for the development of novel anti-blast strategies. The initial goal of my research program is to dissect the functions of the secreted proteins during rice blast infection and study their role in pathogenicity or fungal development. Our lab will incorporate a multifaceted approach that employs the use of different scientific disciplines such as biochemistry, genetics, cell biology, microscopy, molecular biology, and general microbiology.

  • Publications


Contact Information


Rm. # 1149
Microbiology Building 981