Lowe-Power lab news

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Summer 2023

  • The lab welcomes two new summer students: Ashley Merino from Woodland Community College through the MESA program and Donnie Ca from California State University, Northridge through the BIOGAP program.

  • Stratton Georgoulis and Dr. Nathalie Aoun are sharing their science at the ASM Microbe 2023 conference.

Spring 2023

  • We welcomed Vienna Elmgreen (Integrated Genetics and Genomics Graduate Group) into the lab!

  • Matt Cope-Arguello wrote and defended an excellent qualifying exam proposal. He is now a PhD candidate in Plant Pathology!

  • Dr. Nathalie Aoun represented UC Davis and the Lab at the National Postdoctoral Scholars meeting. As president of the UC Davis Postdoctoral Scholars Association, she co-organized the Postdoc Symposium.

  • Tiffany has been networking with colleagues in Montevideo Uruguay (International Bacterial Wilt Symposium), Taiwan (invited seminars at Academica Sinica with Chih-Horng Kuo and the National Taiwan University with Chiu-Ping Cheng), The Phillippines (Zoominar invited by Mark Balandres) and Chicago (NSF RESUME Workshop on One Health Surveillance). ✈️

Winter 2023

  • We welcome 15 new and continuing undergraduate researchers to the Ralstonia Genomics CURE (Cohort-based Undergraduate Research Experience). Guided by Tiffany and PhD student Matt Cope-Arguello, the team is sequencing, assembling, and analyzing genomes of 24 Ralstonia isolates from Bangladesh. We are grateful to collaborators Sally Miller and Nagendra Subedi for allowing us to contribute to this excellent pathogen survey and analysis. We are currently Crowdfunding to make the CURE a sustainable project for training the next-generation of scientists in cutting-edge methods. Donate if you can!

  • Tiffany and collaborator Caitilyn Allen finalized and submitted a manuscript that was nearly 20 years in the making (preliminary experiments by Enid González-Orta and major work by Beth Dalsing and Alicia Truchon during their PhD theses). The paper included #overlyhonestmethods like “the genome analysis was performed on all of the Ralstonia genomes available in 2012”. Plant pathogenic Ralstonia phylotypes evolved divergent respiratory strategies and behaviors to thrive in xylem is currently available on BioRxiv and accepted to mBio.

  • Junior Specialist Jason Avalos is having a ball interviewing for a PhD in plant bacteriology related departments. We can’t wait to see where he lands!

Fall 2022

  • Undergraduate Ariana Enriquez was awarded a Provost’s Undergraduate Research Fellowship for her project mentored by Dr. Nathalie Aoun.

  • PhD students Matt Cope-Arguello and Stratton Georgoulis were both awarded Jastro Research Fellowships!

  • We say goodbye to Dr. Becca Schomer, and we wish her luck in starting as an Assistant Professor at the University of Arizona. (She will be hiring!)

Summer 2022

Spring 2022

  • Claudia Enriquez, Trung-Hieu (Huey) Nguyen, Alex Olyushinets, and Cloe Tom participated in a pilot of the IGNITE CURE. We each sequenced and assembled our own two genomes of Ralstonia isolated from the 1960s. Look out for a Genome Announcement soon!

  • Collaborator Mohommed Arif released a preprint on a new multiplex PCR assay that can simultaneously identify whether the strain is in the Ralstonia species complex, which species it is a part of, and whether it is in the highly regulated pandemic clade (“Race 3 Biovar 2”). Read about it here.

  • Caitilyn Allen (Tiffany’s PhD advisor) visited Davis to present an awesome seminar on the biology of Race 3 Biovar 2 pathogens. We had a lab dinner and Steve Lindow (Tiffany’s postdoc advisor) joined. We did not plan to match our clothes so well

Winter 2022

  • Nathalie mentored a dynamic duo (Liz Jiang and Yali Bai) on a bacterial GWAS analysis.

  • Tiffany taught a newly developed course, Biology of Plant Pathogens. Read about it here.


  • Meta-Analysis of the Ralstonia solanacearum species complex (RSSC) based on comparative evolutionary genomics and reverse ecology https://doi.org/10.1099/mgen.0.000791. A Tweet-storm describing the significance can be found here.

2021 in Review

We had two papers accepted to society journals: Phytofrontiers (the new American Phytopathological Society journal) and mSystems (American Society for Microbiology)

We have another pre-print under peer-review:

  • Meta Analysis of the Ralstonia solanacearum species complex (RSSC) based on comparative evolutionary genomics and reverse ecology https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.12.05.471342. A Tweet-storm describing the significance can be found here.

We had several grants funded:

  • USDA NIFA grant at the Pests and Beneficial Species program (PI: Lowe-Power)
  • JGI CSP Functional Genomics Grant (PI: Lowe-Power, Co-PI: Georgoulis)
  • Hellman Fellows grant (PI: Lowe-Power)
  • UC Davis Academic Senate grant (equal Co-PIs: Lowe-Power and Hari Manikantan)
  • Jastro Shields grant (PI: Georgoulis)

Fall 2021

We welcomed three new full time researchers to the team:

  • Dr. Nathalie Aoun is a new postdoctoral fellow in the lab. Nathalie earned her PhD with Richard Berthomé and Fabrice Roux in Laurent Deslandes’s group at LIPME (Toulouse, France). Nathalie is a statistics wizard who honed her experimental design and analysis skills through a highly productive 3 year PhD. Nathalie carried out GWAS screens to identify Arabidopsis resistance mechanisms that functioned at cool and tropical temperatures. Several of her PhD papers are published, and more are on their way.

  • Matt Cope-Arguello is a new PLP graduate student who joins us from California State University-San Marcos. Matt had a diverse array of undergraduate research experiences that involved exploring microbial ecology and engineering: FISH visualization of dental plaque communities, coastal microbial ecology, and more.

  • Jason Avalos joined the Parales lab as a Junior Specialist, but we consider him an honorary member of the Lowe-Power lab. Jason was an undergraduate researcher on the Global Ralstonia diversity project. Now he is working with Dr. Becca Schomer on the molecular biology of Ralstonia chemotaxis.

We had two scientists move on:

  • Jonathan Beutler completed an excellent M.S. thesis, and he moved to University of British Columbia to work in Gurcharn Brar’s cereal pathology lab.

  • Dr. Brian Ingel secured a career position at the California Department of Pesticide Regulation as an Environmental Scientist.

Summer 2021

  • We hosted two remote researchers, Darrielle Williams and Darrell Sparks. They joined our lab this summer through the Plant Agricultural Biology Graduate Admissions Pathways Program (PABGAP). Darrielle and Darrell both contributed to the Global Ralstonia Diversity project. Darrielle also explored Jonathan’s disease progress data by calculating AUDPCs for over 3,000 individual plants and visualizing the distributions. Darrielle’s artistic side shone in her color choices for the plots.

Spring 2021


  • We’re so proud of our McNair Scholar, Hang Le, who received the President’s Undergraduate Fellowship (PUF) for her research project to characterize how Ralstonia evolution after years of persistence in water. Congrats, Hang!

  • Three of our GDB #wUndergrads graduated this quarter! Jason Avalos, Grace Lankford, and Elva Xian are heading off to improve the world through public health, practicing medicine, and researching plant diseases. Congrats y’all!

  • Stratton, Jonathan, and Becca have had talks accepted at APS Pacific Division and/or APS Plant Health. We’re looking forward to sharing our research with colleagues this month and in August.


  • It has been an exciting quarter for the lab wUndergrads! Elva Xian, Jason Avalos, Maria Charco Munoz, Grace Lankford, and Hang Le all presented research posters at the Undergrad Research Conference (URC). Also, Jason was awarded the Global Disease Biology student of the Month Award!!

  • This month also marked pay-offs for the Lowe-Power lab! We received our first research grants! They’re small Seed grants that will set the stage for exciting findings to come.


  • We are happy to announce that Matt Cope from California State University San Marcos accepted a position in the Plant Pathology graduate group and our lab! Matt has research experience in several microbial ecosystems ranging from marine microbiology to the tooth microbiome. Matt will matriculate in Fall 2021!

  • We are preparing to host Darrielle Williams and Darrell Sparks for PABGAP summer research projects on Ralstonia genomics. We can’t wait to work with y’all!

Winter 2021

Several updates this quarter:

  1. Two GDB undergraduate students joined the lab as remote researchers. Welcome Grace Lankford and Hang Le!

  2. Our lab’s X-ray MicroCT preprint is available on BioRxiv: B. Ingel et al. “Revisiting the source of wilt symptoms: X-ray microcomputed tomography provides direct evidence that Ralstonia biomass clogs xylem vessels”

  3. Jason Avalos and Maria Charco Munoz finalized their data entry and curation for the Ralstonia Global Diversity project. We updated the preprint to reflect their contributions to the preprint. This project was featured on the Open Plant Pathology blog

  4. We gave the lab protocols a new look! They are now view-able as a GitHub Jekyll site, which is a printer-friendly format.

  5. Dr. Tiffany Lowe-Power gave a seminar at NCSU in March! It was great to meet new colleagues and catch up with old colleagues!

Fall 2020

October 2020

Dr. Tiffany Lowe-Power was invited to present the labs’ research at the University of Georgia’s Plant Pathology seminar series and at UC Davis’s Microbiology Seminar series. Dr. Lowe-Power presented “Why do plants wilt? What X-ray computed microtomography can tell us about a model bacterial pathogen”. This seminar should be broadly accessible to the general public as well as plant pathologists, plant biologists, and microbiologists.

The alternate title of the talk is “Shooting plants with X-rays pew pew”.

A recording from the UC Davis seminar is available on Youtube: https://youtu.be/TpFLAiaZy94

Beginning of Fall Quarter!

The Lowe-Power lab welcomes Jason Avalos and Maria Charco Munoz, two new Global Disease Biology undergraduates who will contribute to the meta-analysis of Ralstonia diversity, distribution, and host range.

Last month, the Lowe-Power lab participated in the Plant Pathology Department Retreat. Stratton gave an excellent presentation that covered his and his labmates’ projects in the lab. Dr. Lowe-Power opened a department-wide discussion: “What can we do as individuals, a department, and a field to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion?”

Over the Summer, the lab submitted our first manuscript for peer review. The project was led by two excellent junior scientists. Katie Shalvarjian initiated the project as an undergrad, and Stratton G analyzed the TnSeq data and co-wrote the manuscript. Link to the BioRxiv Preprint. Link to a Twitter Summary of the paper

Spring 2020

June 2020

Kyle Chipman graduated from UC Davis with a B.S. in Global Disease Biology. Congrats, Kyle! Kyle’s GDB thesis included a literature meta-analysis of Ralstonia diversity, distribution, and host range. Part of his work is hosted on the lab GitHub.

The lab welcomes Dayna Denver as a remote undergrad researcher through the NSURP program. Stratton is supervising Dayna and Elva on twin projects to investigate the distribution of Ralstonia genes across genomes.

May 2020

Dr. Becca Schomer received a JGI Functional Genomics grant with Co-PI Parales and Co-PI Lowe-Power. Way to go, Becca!

April 2020

Wonderful news! Dr. Becca Schomer has received a USDA NIFA postdoctoral fellowship to study specificity of Ralstonia membrane receptors. Becca is a postdoctoral fellow co-advised by Dr. Becky Parales and Dr. Tiffany Lowe-Power.

Tiffany prepared and delivered an four-part ad hoc workshop on Scientific Communication: Writing Grants and Papers via Zoom. Check out the the video recordings on the Resources page.

March 2020

We’ve set a new lab motto for Spring 2020: Constraints provide opportunities for Creativity! Due to the Covid19 pandemic, our lab culled our tomato plants, archived our bacteria in the -80, donated our PPE stocks to UC Davis Med, and transitioned to remote work on March 13. Our first priority is health: infectious, physical, and mental. Our second priority is defining & carrying out training and research goals that we can complete remotely.

Winter 2020

Our lab is full of growth this quarter! We welcome M.S. student Jonathan Beutler, postdoc Brian Ingel, and a dynamic duo of undergraduate researchers Kyle Chipman and Elva Xian.

Jonathan enters our lab as member of the International Agriculture and Development graduate group. Before starting at UC Davis in Fall 2019, Jonathan ran a turmeric farm in Hawaii. As a farmer, Jonathan had first-hand experience with Ralstonia. Jonathan is conducting an a thesis evaluating Ralstonia management strategies.

Brian joins us from Caroline Roper’s lab at UC Riverside where he worked on the xylem-dweller Xylella fastidiosa.

Stratton Georgoulis is mentoring the #wUndergrads Kyle and Elva through their first PCRs on route to cloning their first plasmids. As Global Disease Biology students, both Kyle and Elva will be completing research theses in our lab.

Fall 2019

Welcome Plant Pathology PhD student, Stratton Georgoulis, the first trainee of the lab!

Postdoc Becca Schomer has also joined the team. Becca’s main advisor is Becky Parales in the Microbiology and Genetics department.

Summer 2019

We have officially opened our doors at UC Davis!