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Cynthia Gleason

Assistant Professor

Cynthia Gleason
Office: Plant Sciences Building

Office phone:  509-335-3742
Lab phone:  509-335-0350

Research Specialty and Interests

My research centers around plant parasitic nematodes and primarily focuses on root-knot nematodes and their interactions with host plants. These small roundworms are soil borne pathogens with a broad host range. They infect plant roots and can cause damage that affects water and nutrient uptake. As a result, root-knot nematodes cause billions of dollars in crop losses each year. In order to develop new strategies to combat nematodes, my group studies the genetic components of the nematode that allow it to manipulate plant signaling pathways and successfully infect plants. One focus of study is on the root-knot nematode Meloidogyne chitwoodi, a serious pathogen of potatoes in the region. We are interested in identifying novel M. chitwoodi pathogenicity genes required for successful potato infection and in dissecting the defence responses triggered during infection of resistant potato. My lab uses a variety of experimental approaches, such as gene expression analyses, generation and characterization of transgenic plants, and heterologous expression of nematode genes in bacteria, to increase our knowledge of the plant/nematode interaction at the molecular level.

Professional Experience

  • Assistant professor, Department of Plant Pathology, Washington State University (2016-present)
  • Jr Professor, Department of Plant Molecular Biology and Physiology, Georg-August-University Göttingen, Germany (2011-2016)
  • Post-doctoral fellow, Plant Industry, CSIRO, Perth, Australia (2006-2010)
  • Post-doctoral fellow, Disease and Stress Biology, John Innes Centre, Norwich UK (2003-2006)
  • Ph.D., Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of California, Davis, USA (2003)

Selected Publications

  • C. Gleason, F. Polzin, S.S. Habash, L. Zhang, J. Utermark, F.M.W. Grundler and A. Elashry. “Identification of two Meloidogyne hapla genes and an investigation of their roles in the plant-nematode interaction” – accepted to Mol Plant Microbe Interact
  • Gleason, C., Leelarasamee, N., Meldau. D., and I. Feussner (2016). “OPDA has key role in regulating plant susceptibility to the root-knot nematode Meloidogyne hapla in Arabidopsis”. Front Plant Sci,
  • C. Foley, C. A. Gleason, J.P. Anderson, T. Hamann, and K. B. Singh (2013) “Genetic and Genomic analysis of Rhizoctonia solani Interactions with Arabidopsis; Evidence of Resistance mediated through NADPH Oxidases.“ PLOS ONE, 8(2):e56814.
  • Gleason, C., Huang, S., Thatcher, L.F., Foley, R.C., Anderson, C.R., Caroll, A.J., Millar, A.H., and K. B. Singh (2011) “Complex II has a key role in production of mitochondrial-derived reactive oxygen species influencing plant stress gene regulation and defence.” Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 108(26):10768-73.
  • Gleason, C.,Foley, R.C., and K. B. Singh (2011) “Mutant Analysis in Arabidopsis Provides Insight into the Molecular Mode of Action of the Auxinic Herbicide Dicamba.” PLOS ONE 6(3): e17245.
  • Anderson, J. P., Lichtenzveig, J., Gleason, C., Oliver, R. P., and K. B. Singh (2010) “The B-3 ethylene response factor MtERF1-1 mediates resistance to a subset of root pathogens in Medicago truncatula without adversely affecting symbiosis with rhizobia.” Plant Physiol 154(2):861-873.
  • C.A. Gleason, Q. L. Liu, and V. M. Williamson (2008) “Silencing a Candidate Nematode Effector Gene Corresponding to the Tomato Resistance Gene Mi-1 Leads to Acquisition of Virulence.“ Mol Plant Microbe Interact. 21(5):576-85.
  • Gleason C, Chaudhuri S, Yang T, Munoz-Gutierrez A, Poovaiah BW, and GED Oldroyd (2006) “Nodulation independent of rhizobia induced by a calcium-activated kinase lacking autoinhibition.“ Nature. 441(7097):1149-52.
  • Kalo P, Gleason C, Edwards A, Marsh , Mitra RM, Hirsch S, Jakab J, Sims S, Long SR, Rogers J, Kiss GB, Dowine JA, and GED Oldroyd (2005) “Nodulaton signaling in legumes requires NSP2, a member of the GRAS family of transcriptional regulators.“ Science. 308(5729):1786-9.
  • Mitra M, Gleason CA, Edwards A, Hadfield J, Downie JA, Oldroyd GE, and SR Long(2005) ”A Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase required for symbiotic nodule development: Gene identification by transcript-based cloning.“ Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 101(13):4701-5.
  • Williamson, V. M. and C. A. Gleason (2003). “Plant-nematode interactions.” Curr Opin Plant Biol 6(4): 327-333.