Arnaud Thierry Djami Tchatchou
Lab Affiliation: Barbara Kunkel
I am a Research Scientist in the Kunkel Lab. I graduated with a PhD (Molecular Biology, 2012) from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa and a MSc ( Biochemistry, 2007) from the University of Yaounde 1, Cameroon. My expertise is in research regarding plant-pathogen interaction with the focus on plant defense response and pathogen virulence mechanism. Before joining the Kunkel Lab, I worked as a post-doctoral fellow (2012-2016) at the University of Johannesburg, the University of the Witwatersrand (2013-2014) and at the University of South Africa (2016-2017). In my current research I am studying the roles of the plant hormone auxin (indole acetic acid, IAA) during pathogenesis of bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato strain DC3000 (PtoDC3000),with emphasis on understanding the direct effects of auxin on the pathogen. In this work we demonstrate that PtoDC3000 uses IAA in at least two different ways to promote virulence and disease: 1) as a plant hormone to suppress plant defenses and 2) as a microbial signaling molecule to regulate virulence gene expression. This second finding is novel, as we show for the first time that auxin is promoting pathogenesis through a direct effect on P. syringae gene expression. I am Christian and originally from Cameroon.