CANCELLED - 2019 Seminar Series - Dr. Jan Leach



Interactions in the Phytobiome: Understanding the System to Manage Plant Health

by Dr. Jan Leach, Colorado State University, Agricultural Sciences

LOCATION: Room 202, Crop Sci
DATE & TIME: Thursday, March 14, 2019 @ 11:00 AM


Phenotypic responses of plants to biotic and abiotic stresses are frequently studied as the outcome of interactions between plants and one or two species of microbes or a single abiotic stress. However, in the phytobiome, plant health and productivity is impacted by simultaneous interactions among multiple organisms and the environment, and frequently, the responses to these interactions are distinct and would not be predicted from studying less complex systems. In this presentation, our examples of multitrophic interactions among bacteria, insects and plants as well as interactions involving bacteria, plants and temperature will be used to demonstrate the difficulty in predicting outcomes from simultaneous stresses. Developing successful and sustainable crop improvement and management strategies for the future will benefit from studying these interactions as a system.


Dr. Leach is a plant pathologist whose research focus is to understand the molecular mechanisms of plant disease susceptibility/resistance. Leach also studies how climate changes impact plant disease caused by microbial pathogens, primarily studying rice and interactions with bacterial pathogens, and how the Russian wheat aphid microbiome influences the insects’ aggressiveness to plants. Leach is a University Distinguished Professor at Colorado State University, and serves as Associate Dean for Research in the College of Agriculture.
Prior to joining CSU in 2004, Leach was a University Distinguished Professor at Kansas State University. She is a Fellow and past President of the American Phytopathological Society (APS). She served on the APS Public Policy Board for 16 years, leading advocacy efforts such as the Phytobiomes Initiative, a systems-level approach to improving crop productivity. Leach is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Academy of Microbiology, and the President of the International Society of Plant Pathology.