University of California, Riverside

Microbiology and Plant Pathology



Department News

March 2019- Research identifies mechanism that helps plants fight bacterial infection

hailing jinDr. Hailing Jin's lab has identified a regulatory, genetic mechanism in plants that could help fight bacterial infection. Read more about the research at the UCR News site here or read the publication that appears in Nature Communications.


October 2018- Welcome to our newest faculty member Dr. Juliet Morrison

juliet morrisonDr. Morrison joins the department of Microbiology and Plant Pathology from Columbia University. Her office is located in Boyce Hall 4490 and to learn more about Dr. Morrison, her research, and to find more information on how to join her lab visit her faculty site here

July 2018- Welcome to our newest faculty member Dr. Sydney Glassman

glassmanDr. Glassman joins the department of Microbiology and Plant Pathology from UC Irvine. Her office is located in Boyce Hall 2469 and to learn more about Dr. Glassman and her research visit her faculty website here.

May 2018- Dr. Albert Paulus, 1927-2018

paulusWe are deeply saddened to report the passing of Cooperative Extension Specialist Dr. Albert Paulus, Emeritus. He will be greatly missed and remembered for his dedication to the field of plant pathology and his kindness to all.

May 2018- Morgan Gray receives Edmond C. Calavan Memorial Scholarship Award

morgan grayPlant Pathology graduate student Morgan Gray has been awarded the Edmond C. Calavan Scholarship. This award is given annually to one meritorious graduate student in the Plant Pathology Graduate Program that has demonstrated excellence in research and creative, forward thinking in the field of Plant Pathology.

May 2018- Congratulations to Dr. Hailing Jin on her new paper in Science

hailing jinDr. Jin is a corresponding author on a new paper published in Science! The study demonstrates that plants use exosomes to transport small interfering RNAs into the cells of fungal pathogens. These small RNA's then inhibit expression of fungal genes required for pathogenesis.

The link to the Science paper is here.
The UCR Today article can be found here.

April 2018- Dr. Wenbo Ma's team paper published in Nature Communications

wenbo maDr. Wenbo Ma and her team have published a paper focused on Huanglongbing(HLB), a devastating disease of citrus. The group demonstrated that a protein effector (SDE1) produced by the bacterium that causes HLB targets a group of proteases in the citrus plant that are required to combat disease. Dr. Wenbo Ma and her reasearch group were also featured in 2 stories including a front page story on the Press-Enterprise regarding their research on HLB. 

The paper can be found here.
The UCR Today Link is here.
The Press-Enterprise story can be found here.

March 2018- Dr. James Sims, 1937-2018

simsIt is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of Dr. James (Jim) Sims, a retired faculty member of the department. He will be truly missed and we thank him for all of his contributions and dedication to our department.
His obituary can be found here.

February 2018- Plant Pathology GSA Receives APS grant through the Mathre Education Endowment

plpagradstudentsThe students of the Plant Pathology graduate student association have received the grant to fund their community outreach to educate the public about Plant Pathology. The awardees of the grant are Outreach Committee Chair Gabriel Ortiz and committee members Claudia Castro, Derreck-Carter-House, Antara Chakravarty, and Nichole Ginnan.

February 2018- Dr. Georgios Vidalakis receives American Phytopthological Society Award

vidalakisCongratulations to Dr. Georgios Vidalakis in received the APS Excellence in Regulatory Affairs and Crop Security Award. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to regulatory plant pathology, crop security, and trade enhancement efforts by APS members.

January 2018- Welcome to our newest faculty member Dr. Patrick Degnan

degnanDr. Degnan joins the department of Microbiology and Plant Pathology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His office is located in Webber Hall 2317A. To learn more about Dr. Degnan and his research please visit his faculty page here.

 August 2017- Dr. Alexander Putman is Co-PI on a $4.5 million collaborative grant from NIFA at the USDA.

putmanDr. Putman will be collaborating with a team of researchers from California and Florida to advance research on disease-resistant strawberries.

See the UCR Today Article here.

August 2017- Dr. Ansel Hsiao receives $1.8 million in funding from NIH

hsiaoThe NIH R35 grant is titled "Gutmicrobiome-mediated small-molecule signaling and resistance to invading microorganisms" 



July 2017- Department Name Change 

The department has been renamed to the Department of Microbiology and Plant Pathology.

June 2017- Dr. Georgios Vidalakis receives a $500,000 grant from US Department of Commerce

georgios vidalakisDr. Georgios Vidalakis has received a $500,00 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce, to purchase new equipment to be used to support research conducted by the Citrus Clonal Protection Program (CCPP). 

See the press release for the grant here.

May 2017-  Nichole Ginnan wins Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award

nicholeNichole Ginnan a graduate student in the department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology received the award for her excellence in teaching. She was honored at the Graduate Division Excellence in Teaching Banquet. 

March 2017- Dr. Emma Aronson's paper published in Nature Communications

aronsonDr. Emma Aronson's paper titled "Dust outpaces bedrock in nutrient supply to montane forest ecosystems"  is garnering international attention.

The paper can be found on the Nature website here
UCR Today Article can be found here
The publication is also being featured on EurekAlert and Popular Science.

March 2017- Dr. Rong Hai's paper on the Zika Virus published in Nature Communications, and featured in several news outlets

rong haiDr. Rong Hai and Dr. Jikui Song in the department of Biochemistry, recently published a paper titled " The structure of Zika virus NS5 reveals a conserved domain conformation". Their research is being featured by ABC 7, The Press-Enterprise, and UCR Today.

Read the paper on the Nature website here
ABC7 coverage can be found here
The Press-Enterprise article here
The UCR Today article here

February 2017- Dr. Katherine Borkovich elected to fellowship in the American Academy of Microbiology

borkovichThe AAM is an honorific leadership group within the American Society for Microbiology.



roperteamJanuary 2017- Team led by Dr. Caroline Roper receives $5.112M grant from the USDA

Dr. Caroline Roper (PI), Dr. Georgios Vidalakis, Dr. James Borneman, Dr. Phillipe Rolshausen, Dr. David Jassby, and Dr. Haizhou Liu's research will focus on the design and identification of new bactericides to combat the Huanglongbing disease that is destroying the citurs industry.

See the Press Release from the USDA here or the UCR Today Article.

 Archived News 

Message from the Chair

"Welcome to the Department of Microbiology and Plant Pathology at the University of California, Riverside! Our departmental goals are to conduct research on the basic biology of plant pathogens and microbes, to develop methods for the management of microbial diseases of plants and other organisms, to provide a quality education to our students; and be a repository of expert advice on plant diseases and microbiology to the citizens of California and the world.

Our department has its roots in the Citrus Experiment Station, which was established in Riverside in 1905. Although the department has maintained strength in the study of diseases of citrus, the scope has expanded to include concentrations in numerous other plant diseases as well as many sub-disciplines of microbiology. Represented among our faculty are experts in the fields of genetics, genomics, bioinformatics, molecular biology, cell biology, biochemistry, ecology, evolutionary biology, and traditional aspects of disease control. Many faculty members have close interactions with industry representatives, advisors, and policy makers throughout California and worldwide. This is critical to applied research for identifying emerging and common plant diseases and microbes, and developing innovative management programs based on ecological and epidemiological approaches. 

On the following pages, I invite you to explore the research programs of our world-class faculty, our critical work in cooperative extension, and the graduate and undergraduate programs that we sponsor."- Katherine Borkovich



For more information about joining our Plant Pathology Graduate Program, please fill out our Interest Form.

For more information about joining our Microbiology Graduate Program, please fill out our Interest Form.

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Contact Information

Department of Microbiology and Plant Pathology
Boyce Hall 1463

Tel: (951) 827-3598
Fax: (951) 827-4294