G. Shad Ali, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor — Plant Pathology
Research: My lab investigates plant-microbe, and microbe-microbe interactions with an ultimate goal of developing eco-friendly, economical and sustainable pest management methods. My research program has integrated basic and applied aspects, and is active in translational research. Basic research in my lab is focused on understanding molecular and genetic mechanisms of how plants responds to microbes in the environment, and how microbes affect plant physiology. We have also initiated a project on understanding the effects of microbiomes of Florida-native plants using holistic system-level approaches. We address these questions using a variety of conventional, molecular and cell biological, genetic, and high throughput genomics, transcriptomics (RNA-Seq) and metabolomics (LC-MS/MS) approaches. The ultimate goal of these studies is to gain a better understanding of the tripartite interaction of plant-pathogens-beneficial microbes, and to identify and deploy pest management methods that are sustainable and safe for consumers. For applied research, my lab currently focuses on developing and using genome-editing tools (CRISPR/cas9) for producing pest resistant crops. In addition, my lab also investigates synthesis and use of antimicrobial nanoparticles and bioactive metabolites of beneficial microbes for controlling plant pests. In addition to independent research, my lab participates in collaborative projects including international researchers. I have also worked on understanding Ca2+-signaling and pre-mRNA splicing in plants using molecular and cell biology approaches.
Teaching, Outreach & Extension: I have taught an undergrad level cell biology course, and have participated in delivering invited lectures in reproductive biology, Molecular and General Genetics. At UF, I recently developed a bi-lingual (English and Spanish) online course for managing plant diseases, which in addition to more than a hundred U.S. students, was also attended by students from Canada, Latin America, Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. I also recruit and supervise Dissertation and Thesis research of Ph.D. students, M.S. students. My lab hosts post-doctoral associates and international visiting scholars. In addition, we always cherish hosting K – 12 and undergrad students in my lab.