Teaching at Auburn University:

PLPA 4980 - Undergraduate Research/PLPA 4960 - Special Problems in Plant Pathology

These courses are focused on introducing undergraduate students to scientific research.

Course Description: Acquire scientific research experience in the laboratory. Learn how to conduct laboratory experiments, analyze data, and present results in a format suitable for scientific publications.

Course Objectives: Teach students basic techniques used in microbiology and molecular biology scientific research. Students will be able to design experiments, follow protocols, and interpret the results obtained. At the end of the semester, each student will write a short report, in the format of a scientific research publication, outlining his/her findings and discussing problems and solutions learned during the research.


PLPA 7300 - Plant-Bacterial Interactions

Course Description: Comprehensive and updated review of bacterial interactions with plants.

Course Objectives: The course provides fundamental and current information regarding different aspects of the interactions of bacteria with the host plants. Aspects of pathogenic and beneficial relationships will be discussed at both the macroscopic and molecular level to assure a global understanding of these interactions. The discussion of recent publications dealing with basic aspects of research in plant-associated bacteria will help the students be aware of cutting edge discoveries in this discipline. An additional objective of this course is to develop critical thinking and scientific writing skills in the students, for which the students will be required to write a short review papers on a chosen topic. The laboratory exercises will give the students and overview of some basic methods and procedures needed to conduct research in plant-bacterial interactions.


ENTM/PLPA 7930/8930 - Journal Review for Entomology and Plant Pathology

Course Description: Discuss recent scientific publications on basic aspects of research in entomology and plant pathology.

Course Objectives: Familiarize students with current research in their fields beyond their own area of expertise. The discussion of publications dealing with basic aspects of research will keep the students aware of the state-of-the-art in their discipline. Discussion of the techniques, approaches, and conclusions used in the publications will help build critical thinking skills. An emphasis will be placed on discussions of the accuracy and relevance of the publications’ conclusions.


PLPA 8880 Physiological and Molecular Plant Pathology

Course Description: Comprehensive and updated review of molecular biology aspects of plant-pathogen interactions.

Course Objectives: The course will present information regarding different aspects of plant pathology at the molecular level. The students will acquire an understanding of the molecular basis of the interactions between microbial plant pathogens and the host plant. The impact of molecular biology on the understanding and control of plant diseases will be emphasized. The discussion of recent publications dealing with basic aspects of research in plant pathology will make the students aware of cutting-edge discoveries in this discipline.


International Teaching:

“Interacciones moleculares planta-patógeno” (“Plant-Pathogen Molecular Interactions”)

This course was jointly developed by myself, Maria Julia Pianzzola (Departamento de Biociencias, Facultad de Química, Universidad de la República, Montevideo, Uruguay), and Saul Burdman (The Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, The Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment,  The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot, Israel). This is a graduate-level intensive course (2 weeks, 4hrs lecture per day) that is funded by the Uruguayan-based agency ANII (Agencia Nacional de Investigación e Innovación). This course was offered at the Faculty of Chemistry in Montevideo, Uruguay in July 2009 and May 2011 and will be offered again in September 2013. The course is taught in Spanish, and its content reviews both basic and current concepts on the interactions between plants and pathogens, with special focus on bacterial plant pathogens.


Advanced Course On Quarantine Plant Pathogenic Bacteria For The European Union

2014 Training Network courses.

Sponsored by Campus de Excelencia Internacional Agroalimentaria (ceiA3)

Venue: Instituto de Agricultura Sostenible. Alameda del Obispo. Córdoba, Spain.

Director: Blanca B. Landa del Castillo (

Date: from 15th to 19th September 2014.

Objectives: To improve the training and specialization in quarantine phytopathogenic bacteria for the European Union, and Spain in particular, and to offer an opportunity of offsetting the lack of specialized education on this discipline at university level. To achieve these objectives the course will address advanced and innovative topics in the field of phytobacteriology. The course is divided into three sections: (i) An update of fundamental and innovative aspects in bacterial plant pathogens and diseases; (ii) Case studies of 10 quarantine plant pathogenic bacteria of major importance for the EU. For each of them we will address the nature of main losses and disease symptoms, as well as the biology, epidemiology, diagnosis and control measures; and (iii) Practicum to complement lectures on the theory of phytobacteriology. Practical sessions will be in the evening and will include demonstration of conventional and molecular-based protocols and techniques for the diagnosis and characterization of plant pathogenic bacteria. Finally, each student will conduct a practical case study to validate progress made in the course.

Deadline for applications: 7th September 2014.

Academic profile of the applicants: Graduate students in Biology, Agricultural Engineering, Forestry, Engineering and Environmental Sciences, or students on the latest year of their degree.

Last Updated: July 08, 2014

Department of Entomology & Plant Pathology | 301 Funchess Halll | Auburn University | Auburn, Alabama 36849
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