Studying How Microbes Interact with Plants and Other Microbes
Research in the Roper lab is centered on understanding how microbes interact with plants. To accomplish this, we work on multiple scales to understand the molecular basis of host-microbe interactions, microbial interactions within biofilms and microbial interactions within plant-associated microbiomes. Our goal is to understand how bacterial pathogens operate within the greater context of the phytobiome.
We work specifically in the specialty crops, grapes and citrus and in the staple crop, corn. In terms of bacterial pathosystems, we specialize in microorganisms that are vectored by insects that can colonize the vascular tissue of plants that includes the xylem and the phloem. The inlcude Xylella fastidiosa, Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus and Pantoea stewartii subsp. stewartii.