Back to top

Andrew Read

Andrew Read

Graduate Student

Plant Science Building, Room 335


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

2006, BA, Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology, University of Hawaii at Hilo

Current Graduate Advisor:  Adam Bogdanove

Research Focus

I’m interested in the molecular arms race taking place between plants and microbes.  Specifically, I study a small group of bacterial proteins called transcription activator-like (TAL) effectors which are delivered directly into the cytoplasm of host plants.  Once in the host cell, TAL effectors move to the nucleus, bind specific DNA targets, and hijack host transcription to drive expression of downstream genes.

Delivering TAL effectors can provide a huge advantage to the pathogen when susceptibility genes are targeted, however, it is a risky strategy because TAL effectors sometimes target resistance genes in the host.  As sequencing technologies advance, we are learning more and more about the natural diversity of TAL effectors.  With this knowledge we can begin the hunt for more TAL effector targets and likely discover novel virulence mechanisms along the way.

Professional Experience

2009-2013            Research Associate – Monsanto Co., Cambridge, MA

Received Above and Beyond Award for contributions to optimization of fourth generation herbicide tolerance trait – contribution included synthesis and in vitro assay of hundreds of protein variants.  Project team leader responsible for coordination within and among Monsanto sites for the optimization of a novel insecticidal protein.

2008                       Research Technician (contract) – Radius Pharmaceuticals, Cambridge, MA

Performed and analyzed molecular techniques as a part of the in vitro research and development team at pharmaceutical start-up, including radioimmunoassay, fluorescence-polarization ligand binding, and mammalian tissue culture. 

2006-2008            Research Lab Specialist – Research Corp. of the University of Hawaii, Hilo, HI

Surveyed East Hawaii commercial orchid operations for presence of major orchid viruses using a variety of nucleic acid and immunological techniques.  Analyzed soil samples for relative abundance of bacterial pathogens.  Established and maintained tissue culture and greenhouse collection of over 20 Hawaiian taro varieties. 

2004-2006            Student Lab Assistant – Research Corp. of the University of Hawaii, Hilo, HI

Carried out Agrobacterium mediated transformation of tobacco and lettuce, including GUS assay to determine efficiency. 

Elected and Appointed Offices

  • 2015-Present        Field representative - Cornell Graduate and Professional Student Association
  • 2015-Present        Executive committee member – Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology Graduate Student Association
  • 2013-Present        Social Committee member – Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology Graduate Student Association

Professional Societies and Working Groups

  • American Phytopathological Society
  • International Society for Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions


2016       Rydel, T., A. Wollacott, R. Brown, W. Akbar, T. Clark, S. Flasinski, J. Nageotte, A. Read, X. Shi, B. Werner, M. Pleau, J. Baum, and A. Gowda.  A transgenic approach for controlling Lygus spp (Hemiptera: Miridae) in cotton.  In preparation. 

2015       Read, A., R.A. Cernadas, M. Harvey, and A. Bogdanove.  “Can paralogs substitute for the rice bacterial leaf streak susceptibility gene OsSULTR3;6?”  Xanthomonas Genomics Conference.  Poster.

2014       North American Agricultural Biotechnology Council Meeting.  New DNA-Editing Approaches:  Methods, Applications and Policy for Agriculture.  Student Voice representative and co-author of Student Voice Report.

2014       Ellis, C., A. Evdokimov, P. Feng, X. Fu, C. Larue, J. Nageotte, A. Read, and A. Wollacott.  “Herbicide tolerance genes and methods of use thereof.”  US patent application no. 62/064,343.

2012       Read, A., J Palombo, A Paquette, and H Vu.  “Optimization of insecticidal proteins.”  Technical Community of Monsanto.  Poster.

2008       Motomura, S., N. Arancon, S. Miyasaka, A. Read, and M. Shintaku.  “Evaluation of molecular detection methods for Ralstonia solanacearum and evaluation of composts for suppressing pathogen populations.”  American Association for the Advancement of Science Pacific Division Meeting.  Poster.

2007       Read, A., B. Bushe, and M. Shintaku.  “Characterization of a Cymbidium mosaic virus isolate that is undetectable by a commercial ELISA virus detection kit.”  American Phytopathological Society Meeting.  Poster.