Cynthia Gleason Joins Faculty
Cynthia Gleason recently joined the Department of Plant Pathology, Washington State University (WSU) as an assistant professor working on nematology. Gleason started working with plant parasitic nematodes as a graduate student at UC Davis in the group of Valerie Williamson. Her work there focused on identifying the root-knot nematode effector that is recognized by the tomato resistance gene Mi. After completing her PhD, she moved to the John Innes Centre, UK, where she worked as a post-doc with Giles Oldroyd on nodulation signaling pathways in legumes. Building upon her interests in plant-microbe interactions, Gleason then became a post-doc in the group of Karam Singh at the CSIRO in Perth, Western Australia, working on Arabidopsis-fungal interactions. However, her initial interest in plant parasitic nematodes never waned, and in 2011, she moved to Georg August University in Goettingen, Germany, to start a group working on molecular nematology. In Germany, her group identified and characterized novel root-knot nematode genes that are involved in parasitism. Gleason is now very excited to be at WSU, Pullman, where she will continue to work on the molecular biology of root-knot nematode-plant interactions. Plant parasitic nematodes are a serious concern for farmers, especially since many effective nematicides have been banned. In particular, the nematode Meloidogyne chitwoodi is a significant threat to potato farmers in the region. She looks forward to further our understanding of M. chitwoodi biology and to contribute to the efforts in generating durable plant resistance.