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Students extracting RNA
Students extracting RNA from plant tissue

Welcome to the Field of Plant Pathology & Plant-Microbe Biology, which is managed by the Section of Plant Pathology & Plant-Microbe Biology in the School of Integrative Plant Sciences at Cornell University.

From our beginnings as one of the first departments of plant pathology in the country, our tradition of excellence has centered on training graduate students for leadership in the field.  As a graduate student in our Department, you will be part of this extraordinary legacy.

We invite you to explore our three program concentrations

Or browse our faculty profiles to see where you would fit into our team.

Graduate Student Research Spotlight

Simon Schwizer

Simon Schwizer

I'm interested in the molecular interactions between pathogens and host plants, specifically the way plants perceive and trigger defense responses to stop pathogen invasion. Pattern-triggered immunity (PTI) employs cell surface pattern recognition receptors to detect conserved microbe-associated molecular patterns and activates signaling cascades that lead to a variety of defense responses, including expression of defense-related genes and production of antimicrobial substances.
My research focuses on the tomato kinase Pti1 and associated plasma membrane receptors involved in PTI to Pseudomonas syringe pv. tomato, the causal agent of bacterial speck. We are using transgenic plants silenced for Pti1 to establish a role in disease resistance. Using molecular assays, we are trying to uncover the signaling pathways in which the Pti1 kinase is involved. Our goal is to better understand resistance mechanisms at the molecular level to promote breeding of more resistant tomato varieties.