Our research team in the Plant pathology and Virology group.
Infections of domesticated plants by viruses, bacteria and fungi cause a loss of one third of plant production meant to feed people and domesticated animals. My duty and aim as professor of plant pathology is to improve understanding of mechanisms, by which plants can protect themselves. This knowledge helps to breed more disease-resistant crop plants. We collaborate in similar studies with plant pathologists in Europe, Africa and Asia since more than 20 years. Collaboration includes also education of students from different continents in our laboratory in University of Helsinki.
Sweetpotatoes are one of the most important staple food crops in the world and the lack of efficient methods to reduce viral diseases results in important crop yield losses. Our main target is sweet potato chlorotic stunt virus (SPCSV) because it causes the most severe sweetpotato disease, in co-infection with other viruses, by suppressing the plant basal defense responses. We are currently focusing our effort on the identification of potential inhibitors of specific viral enzymes essential for the suppression of antiviral RNA silencing system mediated by SPCSV, as we believe that the characterization of potential antiviral treatment against viral diseases in sweetpotato will be crucial for the development of safe and effective chemical controls to reduce sweetpotato yields losses in fields.
As the Research Technician of this group I have been involved in various research projects. Virus infections in potato, sweetpotato and raspberries are the main topics. I'm also involved in training and education of students from different countries.
The aim of my thesis is to describe fungal pathogens of green roof mosses, and to study how mosses (model moss Physcomitrella patens) defend against fungal pathogens.
Green roof research has been gaining its popularity and importance in academia more and more. However, if plants could not survive on green roofs, none of the researches could be conducted at all. So my researches focus on growth and survival of green roof plants since my Master’s thesis, specifically applying plant-growth-promoting-microbes in the soil to achieve or partially achieve the goal. I focused on two commonly used beneficial microbes: Bacillus amyloliquefaciens (bacterium) and Rhizophagus irregularis (arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus, formerly known as Glomus intraradices) on vascular plants (berry plants, ornamental plants, and grass). I have been working both in greenhouse and green roof conditions for different experimental layouts. Contact me via email: email@example.com