I study bacterial spot disease of pepper and tomato, which is caused by three species of Xanthomonas. We have sequenced the complete genomes of diverse bacterial isolates of Xanthomonas in order to define the Type III effector repertoire present in the field and the evolution of specific effectors over time. This “effector-omics” approach has led us to better understand the effectors that define recognition specificity by hosts within the Solanaceae and has helped us identify sources of new plant resistance genes.   I am also studying the role of a unique Transcription Activator Like (TAL) Effector from Xanthomonas gardneri and its role in inducing disease lesions on susceptible tomatoes. A better understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying lesion development may improve plant tolerance to pathogens. 


Schwartz, A. R., Potnis, N., Timilsina, S., Wilson, M., Patané, J., Martins, J., … Staskawicz, B. J. (2015). Phylogenomics of Xanthomonas field strains infecting pepper and tomato reveals diversity in effector repertoires and identifies determinants of host specificity. Frontiers in Microbiology6, 535. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2015.00535

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