Niklaus Grunwald, PI

The Grunwald lab is interested in the epidemiology, genetics and evolution of exotic and reemerging Phytophthora species. The genus Phytophthora contains some of the most destructive plant pathogens that affect agricultural and forest crops. Important examples include P. ramorum, a devastating exotic pathogen causing sudden oak death, and P. infestans, known as the cause of the Irish potato famine. Much of our work focuses on translational applications towards improving disease management in agriculture. Our team combines basic tools from genomics, epidemiology and bioinformatics, with translational research approaches to strategically address some of the fundamental challenges posed by plant diseases caused by the genus Phytophthora. We have and continue to sequence whole genomes of important Phytophthora pathogens.

Lab website:


Students will learn to process and analyze whole genome sequences and population genetic data. Tasks may include assembling genome sequences, calling variants in populations, identifying genes of interest, and/or using genomic data to generate hypotheses on pathogen emergence. Select publications exemplifying our research approaches include:


Students will learn fundamental concepts in characterizing genomes and populations using high throughput sequencing data and computational approaches. Students will use genomic data to learn the scientific process.