Research in my lab focuses on the pathogens causing disease in alfalfa and strategies to reduce damage from diseases. I am interested in identifying and characterizing disease resistance in wild populations and related species such as the model legume Medicago truncatula. We are using molecular markers to map resistance genes and to accelerate developing resistant germplasm. I am also interested in diversity in pathogen populations, particularly in those genes involved in pathogenicity and triggering host resistance. For this we use genome sequencing, comparative genomics, and transcriptomics to gain a better understanding of plant-pathogen interactions. In collaborative research we are investigating the diversity of microbial populations associated with alfalfa roots and their roles in promoting plant growth and inhibiting pathogens.
View a video below of ice nucleation by bacteria.
Graduate Student Position Opening
I have grant funding to support a graduate student to investigate the epidemiology of bacterial stem blight in alfalfa, caused by Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae. We will also be investigating the genes for resistance and resistance mechanisms in alfalfa. This bacterium is involved in increasing frost damage to alfalfa due to its capacity to act as an ice nucleus. Although this bacterium has been the subject of research in other hosts, almost nothing is known about its interaction with alfalfa. If you are interested in working on a novel disease problem, please apply to the graduate program!
The Samac lab is part of the USDA-ARS-Plant Science Research Unit (PSRU) and has a broad portfolio of alfalfa research projects. Learn about the many exciting new research projects as well as lab, greenhouse, and field experiment work from this year. Read more >>
Deborah Samac and collaborators were awarded $250,00 from NIFA-Alfalfa and Forage Research program to investigate the epidemiology and genetic resistance in alfalfa to bacterial stem blight caused by Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae. The grant will support a graduate student and undergraduate research. Students interested in the project should apply to the Plant Pathology graduate program. Read more >>
Nine researchers were the beneficiaries of the first-ever U.S. Alfalfa Farmer Research Initiative (USAFRI), a farmer-funded investment in alfalfa-related research. Among the recipients was Adjunct Professor Deborah Samac for the proposal "Enhancing Alfalfa Yields and Stand Life by Improving Management of Seed Rot and Seedling Damping Off."
Deborah A. Samac, discusses how to cross pollinate alfalfa flowers for greenhouse seed production. Samac is a Research Leader and USDA-ARS-Research Geneticist, as well as an Adjunct Professor with the Department of Plant Pathology at the University of Minnesota. Watch >>
Department of Plant Pathology | 495 Borlaug Hall 1991 Upper Buford Circle | St. Paul, MN 55108 (612) 625-8200 | Fax: (612) 625-9728 | firstname.lastname@example.org