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Washington State University Molecular Plant Sciences

Patricia Okubara


Research Geneticist (Plants), USDA ARS. Adjunct Faculty in Molecular Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology. Ph.D. 1992, UCLA.

Pat Okubara.


The focus of my research is to identify and understand the action of plant genes that govern interactions with pathogenic and beneficial soil microbes. The primary aim of the research is to identify molecular defense mechanisms used by host roots and seeds during interactions with soilborne fungal pathogens and biocontrol bacteria. An applied research component is involves pathogen diagnostics and development of disease resistant wheat and barley. Approaches used in the laboratory include forward and reverse genetics, transcriptomics, genomics, fungal community profiling, and real-time PCR.

Selected Publications

Wang X, Glawe DA, Kramer E, Weller D, Okubara PA (2018) Biological control of Botrytis cinerea: interactions with native vineyard yeasts from Washington State. Phytopathology 108 (6): 691-701.

Fuerst EP, James MS, Pollard AT, Okubara PA (2018) Defense enzyme responses in dormant wild oat and wheat caryopses challenged with a seed decay pathogen. Front Plant Sci 8: 2259

Mahoney AK, Babiker EM, See DR, Paulitz TC, Okubara PA, Hulbert SH (2017) Analysis and mapping of Rhizoctonia root rot resistance traits from the synthetic wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) line SYN-172. Mol Breed 37: 130. DOI 10.1007/s11032-017-0730-9.

Okubara P, Kumar N, Hohenwarter L, Graham D, Kandel S, Doty SL, Micknass U, Kogel K-H, Imani J (2017) Inhibition of fungal and. bacterial plant pathogens by VegelysTM, an Allium-based antimicrobial formulation. J Biol Nat 8(2): 40-51.

Kandel SL, Firrincieli A, Joubert PM, Okubara PA, Leston ND, McGeorge KM, Mugnozza GS, Harfouche A, Kim S-H, Doty SL (2017) An vitro study of bio-control and plant growth promotion potential of Salicaceae endophytes. Front Microbiol 8: 386. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2017.00386.

Okubara PA, Kang J-H, Howe GA (2016) Belowground signaling and defense in host-Pythium interactions. In Belowground Defence Strategies in Plants, K. Kazan and C. Vos, eds. Springer, Switzerland, pp. 171-194. (Peer reviewed book chapter with original data)

Mahoney A, Babiker E, Paulitz T, See D, Okubara P, Hulbert S (2016) Characterizing and mapping resistance in synthetic-derived wheat to Rhizoctonia root rot in a green bridge environment. Phytopathology 106(10): 1170-1176.

Okubara PA, Leston NL, Micknass U, Kogel K-H, Imani J (2016) Rapid quantitative assessment of Rhizoctonia resistance in roots of selected wheat and barley genotypes. Plant Dis 100(3): 640-644.

Okagaki LH, CC, Sailsbery J, Clay B, Brown D, John T, Oh Y, Young N, Fitzgerald M, Haas BJ, Zeng Q, Young S, Adiconis X, Fan L, Levin JZ, Mitchell TK, Okubara PA, Farman ML, Kohn LM, Birren B, Ma L-J, Dean RA (2015). Genome sequences of three phytopathogenic species of the Magnaporthaceae family of fungi. Genes, Genomes, Genetics (G3), Early Online. doi 10.1534/g3.115.020057

Okubara PA, Leston NL, Micknass U, Kogel K-H, Imani J. Rapid quantitative assessment of Rhizoctonia resistance in roots of selected wheat and barley genotypes (2015). Plant Disease, First Look.

Bruner EA, Okubara PA, Abi-Ghanem R, Brown DJ, Reardon CL (2015) Use of pressure cycling technology for cell lysis and recovery of bacterial and fungal communities from soil. BioTechniques 58:171-180.

Fuerst EP, Okubara PA, Anderson JV, Morris CT (2014) PPO as a biochemical seed defense mechanism. Frontiers in Plant Sci 5:689.

Okubara PA, Dickman MB, Blechl AE (2014) Molecular and genetic aspects of controlling the soilborne necrotrophic pathogens Rhizoctonia and Pythium. Plant Sci 128:61-70.

Okubara PA, Schroeder KL, Abatzoglou JT, Paulitz TC (2014) Agroecological factors correlated to soil DNA concentrations of Rhizoctonia in dryland wheat production zones of Washington state, USA. Phytopathology 104:683-691.

Mavrodi OV, Walter N, Elateek S, Taylor CG, Okubara PA (2012) Suppression of Rhizoctonia and Pythium root rot of wheat by new strains of Pseudomonas. Biological Control 62:93-102.

Maketon C, Fortuna A-M, Okubara PA (2012) Cultivar-dependent transcript accumulation in wheat roots colonized by Pseudomonas fluorescens Q8r1-96 wild type and mutant strains. Biological Control 60:216-224.

Okubara PA, Call DR, Kwak Y, Skinner DZ (2010) Induction of defense gene homologues in wheat roots during interactions with Pseudomonas fluorescens. Biological Control 55:118-125.