Alfano named APS fellow

James Alfano
James Alfano

James Alfano, Charles Bessey professor of plant pathology and member of the Center for Plant Science Innovation at UNL, has been elected a fellow of the American Phytopathological Society. The international scientific organization is devoted to the study of plant diseases and has a membership that includes nearly 5,000 plant pathologists and scientists worldwide.

Fellow recognition by the American Phytopathological Society is based on significant contribution in at least one of the following areas: original research, teaching, administration, professional and public service, and extension/outreach. Nine members of the APS earned fellow status this year.

Alfano’s research focuses on the type III secretion system of Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000 and the effector proteins injected via the T3SS into plant cells by this model pathogen. The T3SS is central to the virulence of DC3000 and many other Gram-negative plant pathogens. Alfano has made major contributions to several aspects of our current understanding of this system, including the genomic context of the T3SS, the control of substrate traffic, the role of chaperones in effector delivery, the ability of various type III effectors in the DC3000 repertoire to suppress plant defenses, and the biochemical activity of two effectors, HopAO1 and HopU1. He is a major player in elucidating the genomic context for the T3SS in P. syringae pv. tomato DC3000, and has made seminal contributions to our understanding of how the T3SS operates. The Alfano group also has made major advances in elucidating the mechanisms by which individual effectors can suppress plant defenses. His research has been funded by NSF, USDA-NRI, and NIH NIAID.

Alfano and the other new fellows will be honored during the annual APS meeting Aug. 6 in Honolulu, Hawaii.