Plant-parasitic nematodes are microscopic soil-borne roundworms, they infect and damage plant roots causing annual crop losses valued at $80-$118 billion worldwide. With most of the front-line nematicides being banned due to their extreme toxicity, it is urgent to develop new methods for nematode control. We focus on two groups of plant-parasitic nematodes: soybean cyst nematode and root-knot nematodes. 

 

Soybean cyst nematode (SCN) is the most devastating pathogen of soybean, causing annual yield losses estimated at $1.5 billion in the US.  

  • We study the virulence types of SCN populations on soybean fields in Indiana to provide useful information for growers to make better decisions on SCN management. 
  • We develop novel fungal bio-control agents of soybean cyst nematode.

 

Root-knot nematodes (RKNs) cause serious problems in specialty crops worldwide. We study the RKN virulence factors and plant susceptibility genes to understand how nematodes successfully infect plants. We also study nematode development and behavior. Our goal is to translate the knowledge and develop crop resistance against RKNs using gene editing, host-delivered RNA, and other techniques.

 

### There are open positions for a Postdoctoral researcher and a graduate student. If you are interested, please contact Dr. Zhang for more information.