Huitema Lab Research
Studies on the broad host range pathogen Phytophthora capsici
Considering the absence of resistant cultivars for all crop systems affected, the high level of genotypic diversity and sexual recombination in many field situations, P. capsici represents a unique pathogen threat to global food production. With a rapidly increasing host range, Phytophthora capsici embodies an oomycete worst-case scenario for crop production.
Overall Lab objectives
The Huitema lab aims to understand the mechanisms by which P. capsici achieves virulence on and ravages multiple crops. Our research is guided by the observation that secreted molecules (effectors) from Phytophthora, play pivotal roles in disease establishment and epidemics. Genome sequences for an increasing number of distinct Phytophthora species now allows us to define the Phytophthora effector blueprint required for infection. We are interested in the functional roles of conserved effectors in epidemics and (nonhost) resistance in crop plants. With the new understanding about the role of effector proteins during disease and the availability of P. capsici genome sequences, we aim to study and perturb the pathways that control effector delivery and their activities. Knowledge gleaned from this dynamic parasite will help us disable pathogenesis and control disease.The development of novel control methods that limits epidemics will help reduce P. capsici incited economic losses and improve disease management strategies of other oomycetes.