Dr. Erica Goss

Assistant Professor, Plant Pathology and Emerging Pathogens Institute




Contact

Rm. #2415 Fifield Hall, 2550 Hull Road
Gainesville, FL, 32611
Plant Pathology: (352) 273-4650
EPI: (352) 294-5318
emgoss@ufl.edu

CV
Background
  • Ph.D. Ecology and Evolution, The University of Chicago, 2005
  • B.A. Biology, Wesleyan University, 1997
Publications

About

I study the origins, evolution, population structure, and migration of plant pathogens. I am also interested in microbial ecology and the molecular evolution of virulence and host range as relates to the emergence of new pathogens.


Teaching

I teach PLP6621 Applied Population Genetics of Microbes, which is an intermediate level graduate course that introduces students to population genetics and hands-on analysis of data. I am also the instructor for ALS3923 CALS Honors Orientation, which prepares undergraduates in the College to write a thesis on independent research.


Research

Pathogen evolution

My group’s research is on the ecological and evolutionary processes underlying pathogen emergence or re-emergence. We study bacteria, fungi, and oomycetes. In collaboration with Plant Pathology colleagues Jeff Jones and Gary Vallad, we are studying the population biology and evolution of the pathogens that cause bacterial spot of tomato, particularly Xanthomonas perforans. Bacterial spot is a major disease problem for Florida tomato growers and management is challenged by the highly dynamic pathogen population.

We are also studying the emergence of fungal pathogens on an invasive grass and the effects of these pathogens on an ongoing plant invasion. The annual grass Microstegium vimineum is one of the most aggressive and troublesome plant invaders in the eastern US. Invasions occur in forests, along roads and streams, and in interior forest and riparian areas. In a collaboration with Dr. Phil Harmon and colleagues at UF, Indiana University, and Tulane University, we are characterizing the fungi colonizing this grass and their interactions with the invader and co-occurring native plants to learn about pathogen emergence on a new host.

We continue to be interested in the processes leading to emergence of Phytophthora pathogens, both new diseases and new genotypes of existing pathogens. Our current work focuses on Phytophthora on tropical and subtropical crops. We also study the closely related genus Pythium, focusing on life history evolution.

Dr. Marina Ascunce is integrating her past work on invasive fire ants and recent work on microbes to study transmission of fungal and bacterial microbes across ant species. This project is a new collaboration with Entomology, SFRC, and the USDA ARS


Lab Members

Postdoc
  • Dr. Maria Ascunce
Graduate Students
  • Fernanda Iruegas Bocardo
  • Jeannie Klein (co-advised)
  • Ashish Adhikari (co-advised)
  • Brett Lane
Undergraduate Researchers
  • Jonelle Joseph
  • Kamila Hernandez
  • Ryan Pelletier
Marina’s Ant Microbe Team
  • Marie de Gracia Coquerel, PhD
  • Jenny Gavilanez-Slone, MS
  • Katie Carroll, BS
  • Andrew Nisip, BS
  • Stanley Ta
  • Sara Zollota
  • Andrew McAuley
  • Jenna Allen
  • Nahla Dasouki
  • Patricia Perez

Contact

Rm. #2415 Fifield Hall, 2550 Hull Road
Gainesville, FL, 32611
Plant Pathology: (352) 273-4650
EPI: (352) 294-5318
emgoss@ufl.edu

CV
Background
  • Ph.D. Ecology and Evolution, The University of Chicago, 2005
  • B.A. Biology, Wesleyan University, 1997
Teaching

I teach PLP6621 Applied Population Genetics of Microbes, which is an intermediate level graduate course that introduces students to population genetics and hands-on analysis of data. I am also the instructor for ALS3923 CALS Honors Orientation, which prepares undergraduates in the College to write a thesis on independent research.

Research

About

I study the origins, evolution, population structure, and migration of plant pathogens. I am also interested in microbial ecology and the molecular evolution of virulence and host range as relates to the emergence of new pathogens.


Pathogen Evolution

The focus of research in the lab is on the genus Phytophthora, which includes a number of emerging plant pathogens. Phytophthora are Oomycetes, which share life history characteristics with fungi but are members of a distinct lineage of eukaryotes with diatoms and brown algae. They are responsible for some of the most economically and ecologically destructive plant diseases. Since the discovery of P. ramorum as the causal agent of sudden oak death in northern California in the late 1990s, the number of Phytophthora species has more than doubled as a result of monitoring efforts. But little is known about the origin or distribution of many Phytophthora species, or how many other potentially damaging Phytophthora remain undiscovered. We are interested in the processes behind the emergence of Phytophthora pathogens, both new diseases and new genotypes of existing pathogens.

We have recently begun studying the pathogen Pythium insidiosum, which is the only known mammalian pathogen in a genus better known for plant pathogens and soil saprophytes. It causes Pythiosis of dogs and horses in the Southeastern US and is common in North Central Florida. We are interested in the ecology and evolutionary origin of this unusual pathogen.


Lab Members

Postdoc
  • Dr. Maria Ascunce
Graduate Students
  • Fernanda Iruegas Bocardo
  • Jeannie Klein (co-advised)
  • Ashish Adhikari (co-advised)
  • Brett Lane
Undergraduate Researchers
  • Jonelle Joseph
  • Kamila Hernandez
  • Ryan Pelletier
Marina’s Ant Microbe Team
  • Marie de Gracia Coquerel, PhD
  • Jenny Gavilanez-Slone, MS
  • Katie Carroll, BS
  • Andrew Nisip, BS
  • Stanley Ta
  • Sara Zollota
  • Andrew McAuley
  • Jenna Allen
  • Nahla Dasouki
  • Patricia Perez
Publications

You can find the most recent publications here:

Google Scholar