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LILY G-341
Phone: 765-494-8134

With several international collaborators, we focus our research on the evolutionary genetics of a major crop pathogen, the rice blast fungus. Using DNA fingerprinting and other techniques, we have shown that rice blast populations throughout the world are each composed of a small number of distinct genetic families with limited pathogenic specificities. We have used this information to design strategies for durable resistance breeding that have proven successful in both the Americas and Asia. Deciphering how the fungus has evolved its specificities is our next goal.

My teaching efforts include international workshops in the use of molecular markers for defining and conserving biodiversity and a new emphasis on the growing field of "bioinformatics", which blends math, statistics and computer science methods to evaluate the biological information contained in whole genomes of organisms. Applying basic scientific methods to real world problems has become my most satisfying professional experience.


Ph.D., Yale, 1973

Professional Faculty Research

(Evolution and population biology) Evolutionary genetics of plant pathogen systems; plant-pathogen coevolution.

Other Activities

  • 30th Rice Technical Working Group Meeting, New Orleans, Louisianna, February 28-March 3, 2004. Poster presentation, "Origins of the California rice blast population," and invited panel discussion, "Risk assessment of importing rice."
  • CIAT (International Center for Tropical Agriculture) Cali, Colombia, March 15-24, 2004. Panel discussant on "Using allopatric wild relatives as sources of disease resistance in crops."
  • CORPOICA (Colombian Corporation of Agricultural Investigation), Bogota, Colombia, March 22-28, 2004. Discussed editorial committee assignments for CORPOICAs Agricultural Science and Technology Reviews.
  • CIAT, Buenos Aires, Argentina, March 29-April 3, 2004. Consulted with research collaborators from Argentina (INTA), Uraguay (INIA), and CIAT.

Faculty Presentations

  • The science of managing rice blast disease, CORPOICA (Colombian Corporation of Agricultural Investigation), Bogota, Columbia, March 25, 2004.
  • Rice blast diversity in Argentina, Uruguay and Southern Brazil: comparative lineage composition and infection assays, CIAT, Buenos Aires, Argentina, April 1, 2004.
  • Globalization of rice blast disease and strategy for breeding durable resistance, Rice Tec, Inc., Alvin, Texas, October 26-27, 2004.
  • Developing durable rice blast resistance, Centro Internacional de Agriculture Tropical (CIAT), Cali, Colombia, February 15-21, 2005.


  • 2003 Conference for the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science, Albuquerque, New Mexico, October 1-5, 2003.
  • 2004 SACNAS Conference for graduate student recruitment, October 20-24, Austin, Texas.

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