The Leach Lab
One of the most intriguing challenges for plant biologists is to understand the complex interactions of plants, their environment, and the multitude of living organisms in or around the plant – the phytobiome. Research in the Leach lab has tackled this challenge in the rice-bacterial blight-climate pathosystem and by investigating multitrophic interactions in wheat, the Russian wheat aphid and the aphid-associated microbiome. These studies integrate physiological, molecular, genomic and genetic approaches, and involve laboratory and field experimentation. Ultimately, the goals of our group are to identify sources of long-lasting, broad-spectrum disease/insect resistance in the plant host, allowing for the development of ecologically sustainable forms of plant disease/insect control.