Tomato and bacterium with boxing gloves The Lowe-Power lab is a team of plant pathologists and microbiologists driven to uncover the behavioral and fitness adaptations that allow bacteria to cause plant disease. Our research lies at the intersection of molecular genetics, metabolism, and plant-microbe interactions. Although research in the Lowe-Power lab centers on how the model wilt pathogen Ralstonia solanacearum exploits and thrives in the flowing plant xylem, the questions we address are broadly relevant to vascular and nonvascular plant pathogens and other plant colonizers.

Our research focus is two pronged: we investigate how A.) xylem pathogens impact their host as well as how B.) the host environment shapes pathogen behavior. Our work investigates metabolic, quorum sensing, and other adaptations of xylem pathogens to agriculturally-relevant host plants.

Timelapse of bacterial wilt disease

Video credit: Jonathan Jacobs (OSU). Tomato cv. Bonny Best plant infected with Ralstonia solanacearum (“Rs”-left) next to a healthy control plant (right).

Research interests

Bacteria-Plant Interactions, Xylem Pathogens & Mutualists, Host Range, Genetics, Metabolism, Microbial Ecology, Microbes