John H. Christy

Potential co-supervisors
Allen Herre, Sunshine Van Bael, Klaus Winter
Luis Mejia

My research interests include the biology of plant-microbe interactions and the evolution, ecology, diversity and taxonomy of plant associated microfungi. I use the chocolate tree Theobroma cacao and its associated endophytes and pathogens as a model system for understanding symbioses of tropical trees with microbes. I employ plant pathology methods and genomics to determine the effects of fungal endophyte colonization on their host genes and phenotypic expression, and to identify the genetic mechanisms that differentiate the beneficial interactions of plants and endophytes from the detrimental interactions between plants and pathogens.

Suggested Reading
  • Mejía, L.C., Guiltinan, M.J., Shi, Z., Landherr, L., and Maximova S.N. 2012. Expression of Designed Anti-Microbial Peptides in Theobroma cacao L. Trees Reduces Leaf Necrosis Caused by Phytophthora spp. In Rajasekaran, K., R. Rajah and J. Jaynes, eds. Small Wonders: Peptides for Disease Control, ACS Symposium Series volume 1095: 379-395. American Chemical Society, Washington DC.

  • Mejía, L.C., Rossman, A.Y., Castlebury, L.A., White, J. F. 2011. New species, phylogeny, host-associations, and geographic distribution of the genus Cryptosporella (Gnomoniaceae, Diaporthales). Mycologia 103(2):379-399.

  • Mejía, L.C., Rojas, E.I. Maynard, Z.,Van Bael, S. Arnold, A.E., Hebbar, P.H.,  Samuels, G.J., Robbins, N., Herre, E.A. 2008. Endophytic fungi as biocontrol agents of Theobroma cacao pathogens. Biological Control 46:4-14.