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James R. Aist

James Aist

Professor Emeritus


  • PH. D. University of Wisconsin, 1971
  • M.S. University of Arkansas, 1968
  • B.S. University of Arkansas, 1966

Professional Experience

  • 1988 -Visiting Research Biologist, Beckman Laser Institute and Medical Clinic, University of California, Irvine
  • 1986-2002 -Professor, Cornell University, Department of Plant Pathology
  • 1983 -Research Fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Laboratory of Plant Pathology, College of Agriculture, Mie University
  • 1979-80 -Visiting Associate Research Biologist, Department of Developmental and Cell Biology, University of California, Irvine
  • 1978-86 -Associate Professor, Cornell University, Department of Plant Pathology
  • 1972-78 -Assistant Professor, Cornell University, Department of Plant Pathology 1971-72 -NATO Postdoctoral Fellow, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zürich
  • 1966-71 -NSF Graduate Fellow, University of Arkansas and University of Wisconsin

Research Interests

Cell biology of plant pathogenic fungi and disease resistance.

The two projects in my research program make substantial use of freeze-substitution, video enhanced microscopy, computer-assisted structural analyses and molecular genetics. Equipment and software for these advanced techniques are upgraded periodically.

One project deals with cytological aspects of penetration processes and host responses in fungus-incited diseases of fruits. The current emphasis is on mechanisms of induced resistance used for biological control of post-harvest diseases.

The other project addresses various questions in fungal cytology, especially nuclear behavior. We are currently investigating the role of two microtubule-associated motor proteins -- kinesin and dynein -- in the generation of mitotic forces in the ascomycete, Nectria haematococca. This project combines molecular genetics -- to generate and analyze mutants -- with cytology -- to detect and document mitotic phenotypes.



  • PL PA 309, Introductory Mycology, Instructor. (3 credits), Fall 1993-1999
  • PL PA 309, Introductory Mycology, Instructor. (3 credits), Fall 1987, 1988
  • Plant Pathology 641, Cytology of Plant Diseases, 1973-1987

Honors & Awards

  • American Phytopathological Society, Fellow Award 1996
  • Nusbaum Symposium, invited speaker, 1985 North Carolina State University
  • Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Fellowship for 1983 Research in Japan, $12,700
  • Wright Lecturer, Purdue University 1979
  • NATO Postdoctoral Fellowship for research with 1971-72
  • Prof. Dr. K. Mühlethaler at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich, Switzerland
  • NSF Graduate Fellowships 1966-71

Professional Activities

Memberships in Professional Organizations

  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • American Phytopathological Society
  • American Society for Cell Biology
  • Mycological Society of America

Editorial Duties

  • Associate Editor, Phytopathology 1978-81
  • Associate Editor, Experimental Mycology 1979-85

Conferences, symposia etc. organized

  • A total of eight 1977-88

Selected Publications

  • Aist, J. R., and Morris, N.R. 1999. Mitosis in filamentous fungi: How we got where we are. Fungal Gen. Biol. 27: 1-25
  • Inoue, S., Turgeon, B. G., Yoder, O. C., and Aist, J. R. 1998. Role of fungal dynein in hyphal growth, microtubule organization, spindle pole body motility and nuclear migration. J. Cell. Sci. 111:1555-1566.
  • Inoue, S., Yoder, O. C., Turgeon, B. G., and Aist, J. R. 1998. A cytoplasmic dynein required for mitotic aster formation in vivo. J. Cell Sci. 111:2607-2614.
  • Wu, Q., Sandrock, T. M., Turgeon, B. G., Yoder, O. C., Wirsel, S. G., and Aist, J. R. 1998. A fungal kinesin required for organelle motility, hyphal growth, and morphogenesis. Mol. Biol. Cell 9:89-101.
  • Aist, J. R. 1995. Independent nuclear motility and hyphal tip growth. Can. J. Bot. 73:S122-S125.
  • Bayles, C. J., Aist, J. R., and Berns, M. W. 1993. The mechanics of anaphase B in a basidiomycete as revealed by laser microbeam microsurgery. Exptl. Mycol. 17:191-199.