Ecology and evolution of plant-pathogens
A central focus of my current research program at INRA concerns the adaptation of plant-pathogens to their host. I am studying two major crop disease caused by biotrophic oomycetes pathogens: grapevine downy mildew (Plasmopara viticola) and sunflower downy mildew (Plasmopara halstedii). Knowledge of the evolutionary potential of plant pathogen species can improve the management of resistance genes and maximize their durability in space and time. Therefore, the objectives of this research program are multiple:
- assess the genetic variability and the population structure of these obligate plant-pathogenic oomycetes at different spatial scales (from the field to the continent),
- understand the routes of introduction of these plant-pathogens from North America into Europe.
- document host-plant specialization and adaptation processes, and describe the mechanisms leading to the emergence of new virulences in these pathosystems;
- understand the underlying molecular mechanism of species divergence and adaptive processes in plant-pathogen systems