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Dr. Cara Haney
Microbiology & Immunology

The Haney lab studies the genetic and environmental factors that regulate assembly of host-associated microbial communities (“microbiomes”). The plant root (“rhizosphere”) microbiome is a powerful model for uncovering mechanisms that shape host-microbiome interactions. The rhizosphere microbiome is distinct from the surrounding soil, and plants benefit from their microbiota in the form of pathogen protection and increased nutrient availability. Roots are naturally colonized by well-studied “model” bacteria including Bacillus, Pseudomonas and Streptomyces spp; as a result,this is a tractable model where both host and microbiota constituents can be manipulated. We use genetic and molecular approaches combined with high-throughput assays and next generation sequencing to probe the interface of the rhizosphere microbiome with the model plant Arabidopsis. Current and ongoing projects include identifying plant and bacterial genes that shape the rhizosphere community and determining how microbiomes affect plant health and development.

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