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Mariko Alexander


Graduate Student

Plant Science Building, Room 335


August 2013 – present MS/PhD student; Plant-Microbe Biology, Plant Pathology & Plant-Microbe Biology Section, School of Integrative Plant Science, Cornell University

2011, Bachelor of Science, Soil and Crop Science, Colorado State University

Current Graduate Advisor:  Michelle Cilia

Research Focus

I am broadly interested in the complex molecular interactions between agricultural pathogens and their hosts, and in application of this knowledge to create environmentally and economically sustainable solutions for crop disease.  My current research centers on host-virus protein interactions that occur during infection of plants with viruses in the family Luteoviridae.  I am particularly interested in the molecular mechanisms underlying restriction of these viruses to phloem tissue, which is believed to be an adaptation facilitating transmission by sap-feeding aphids. 

Professional Experience

  • July–August 2014, Teaching Assistant, Cold Spring Harbor Proteomics Short Course
  • August–December 2015, Teaching Assistant, PLPPM 3010, Biology and Management of Plant Diseases
  • 2011–2012, Fulbright Scholar, Technical University of Braunschweig, Germany

Awards and Honors

  • January 2016 December 2017  USDA-NIFA Pre-Doctoral Fellowship
  • 2013–2014  Cornell Presidential Life Science Fellowship
  • 2011–2012  Fulbright Scholar, Germany

Elected and Appointed Offices

  • 2015–2016 Vice-President, Cornell Plant Pathology Graduate Student Association
  • 2014–2015 Treasurer, Cornell Plant Pathology Graduate Student Association

Professional Societies and Working Groups

  • American Phytopathological Society
  • American Society for Mass Spectrometry


Alexander, M. M., and Cilia, M. 2015. A molecular tug-of-war: Global plant proteome changes during viral infection. Curr. Plant Biol.

DeBlasio, S. L., Chavez, J. D., Alexander, M. M., Ramsey, J., Eng, J. K., Mahoney, J., et al. 2015. Visualization of host-polerovirus interaction topologies using Protein Interaction Reporter technology. J. Virol. :JVI.01706–15

Probst, C., Ringel, P., Boysen, V., Wirsing, L., Alexander, M. M., Mendel, R. R., et al. 2014. Genetic characterization of the Neurospora crassa molybdenum cofactor biosynthesis. Fungal Genet. Biol.