Sharon Doty

Professor, Environmental & Forest Sciences

Life in Extreme Environments





Sharon Doty graduated from UC Davis with a B.S. degree in Genetics in 1989. She received her Ph.D. in Microbiology at the University of Washington in 1995 with Prof. Gene Nester, studying Agrobacterium plant signal perception and responses. She did postdoctoral research in plant biochemistry with Prof. Milt Gordon in the UW Biochemistry Dept., focusing on developing improved phytoremediation of organic pollutants.

She joined the faculty of the UW College of Forest Resources in 2003 and is currently an Associate Professor in the UW School of Environmental and Forest Sciences in the College of the Environment. Professor Doty is interested in plant microbiology including nitrogen fixation in non-legumes, remediation of pollutants using plants, and biochemical production.

Recently, there has been a proliferation in research on endophytes, the microorganisms living fully within plants. Some endophytes are diazotrophic (nitrogen-fixing). It is now clear that these diazotrophic endophytes function in a wide range of plants across the globe. These discoveries point to a hitherto unexplored diversity of microbial life critical to the growth of plants in low-nutrient areas. Currently, plants are classified as “N-fixing” only if they have root nodules. By missing the important contributions of diazotrophic endophytes, it is not possible to make accurate assessments of terrestrial dinitrogen fixation. Furthermore, it has long been assumed that plants rely purely on specific genetic traits for successful adaptations to high temperature, salt, drought, low nutrients, etc. Recent evidence, however, points to symbiosis with microbial partners as a critical mechanism for the ability of plants to colonize and to thrive in challenging environments.

A full list of publications from the Doty lab is available at

Selected Publications

Rho, H., Doty, S. L., & Kim, S.-H. (2018). Estimating microbial respiratory CO2 from endophytic bacteria in rice. Plant Signaling & Behavior, 1–5.

Doty, S. L., Freeman, J. L., Cohu, C. M., Burken, J. G., Firrincieli, A., Simon, A., … Blaylock, M. J. (2017). Enhanced Degradation of TCE on a Superfund Site Using Endophyte-Assisted Poplar Tree Phytoremediation. Environmental Science & Technology, 10050–10058.

Doty, S. L. (Ed.). (2017). Functional Importance of the Plant Microbiome.

Kandel, S. L., Firrincieli, A., Joubert, P. M., Okubara, P. A., Leston, N. D., McGeorge, K. M., … Doty, S. L. (2017). An In vitro Study of Bio-Control and Plant Growth Promotion Potential of Salicaceae Endophytes. Frontiers in Microbiology.

Doty, S. L., Sher, A. W., Fleck, N. D., Khorasani, M., Bumgarner, R. E., Khan, Z., … DeLuca, T. H. (2016). Variable Nitrogen Fixation in Wild Populus. PLOS ONE, e0155979.

Khan, Z., Rho, H., Firrincieli, A., Hung, S. H., Luna, V., Masciarelli, O., … Doty, S. L. (2016). Growth enhancement and drought tolerance of hybrid poplar upon inoculation with endophyte consortia. Current Plant Biology, 38–47.

Kandel, S. L., Herschberger, N., Kim, S. H., & Doty, S. L. (2015). Diazotrophic Endophytes of Poplar and Willow for Growth Promotion of Rice Plants in Nitrogen-Limited Conditions. Crop Science, 1765.

Firrincieli, A., Otillar, R., Salamov, A., Schmutz, J., Khan, Z., Redman, R. S., … Doty, S. L. (2015). Genome sequence of the plant growth promoting endophytic yeast Rhodotorula graminis WP1. Frontiers in Microbiology.

Knoth, J. L., Kim, S.-H., Ettl, G. J., & Doty, S. L. (2013). Biological nitrogen fixation and biomass accumulation within poplar clones as a result of inoculations with diazotrophic endophyte consortia. New Phytologist, 599–609.

Khan, Z., Guelich, G., Phan, H., Redman, R., & Doty, S. (2012). Bacterial and Yeast Endophytes from Poplar and Willow Promote Growth in Crop Plants and Grasses. ISRN Agronomy, 1–11.

Knoth, J. L., Kim, S.-H., Ettl, G. J., & Doty, S. L. (2012). Effects of cross host species inoculation of nitrogen-fixing endophytes on growth and leaf physiology of maize. GCB Bioenergy, 408–418.

Vajzovic, A., Bura, R., Kohlmeier, K., & Doty, S. L. (2012). Novel endophytic yeast Rhodotorula mucilaginosa strain PTD3 II: production of xylitol and ethanol in the presence of inhibitors. Journal of Industrial Microbiology & Biotechnology, 1453–1463.

Kang, J. W., Song, J., Doty, S. L., & Lee, D. K. (2012). Diversity of rhizobia associated with leguminous trees growing in South Korea. Journal of Basic Microbiology, 291–298.

Bura, R., Vajzovic, A., & Doty, S. L. (2012). Novel endophytic yeast Rhodotorula mucilaginosa strain PTD3 I: production of xylitol and ethanol. Journal of Industrial Microbiology & Biotechnology, 1003–1011.

Kang, J. W., Khan, Z., & Doty, S. L. (2012). Biodegradation of Trichloroethylene by an Endophyte of Hybrid Poplar. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 3504–3507.

Lee, K. Y., Strand, S. E., & Doty, S. L. (2012). Phytoremediation of Chlorpyrifos byPopulusandSalix. International Journal of Phytoremediation, 48–61.

Xu, P., Bura, R., & Doty, S. L. (2011). Genetic analysis of D-xylose metabolism by endophytic yeast strains of Rhodotorula graminis and Rhodotorula mucilaginosa. Genetics and Molecular Biology, 471–478.

S Miller, R., & Khan, Z. (2011). Comparison of Trichloroethylene Toxicity, Removal, and Degradation by Varieties of Populus and Salix for Improved Phytoremediation Applications. Journal of Bioremediation & Biodegradation.

Redman, R. S., Kim, Y. O., Woodward, C. J. D. A., Greer, C., Espino, L., Doty, S. L., & Rodriguez, R. J. (2011). Increased Fitness of Rice Plants to Abiotic Stress Via Habitat Adapted Symbiosis: A Strategy for Mitigating Impacts of Climate Change. PLoS ONE, e14823.

Kang, J. W., Wilkerson, H.-W., Farin, F. M., Bammler, T. K., Beyer, R. P., Strand, S. E., & Doty, S. L. (2010). Mammalian cytochrome CYP2E1 triggered differential gene regulation in response to trichloroethylene (TCE) in a transgenic poplar. Functional & Integrative Genomics, 417–424.

James, C. A., Xin, G., Doty, S. L., Muiznieks, I., Newman, L., & Strand, S. E. (2009). A mass balance study of the phytoremediation of perchloroethylene-contaminated groundwater. Environmental Pollution, 2564–2569.

Xin, G., Glawe, D., & Doty, S. L. (2009). Characterization of three endophytic, indole-3-acetic acid-producing yeasts occurring in Populus trees. Mycological Research, 973–980.

Xin, G., Zhang, G., Kang, J. W., Staley, J. T., & Doty, S. L. (2009). A diazotrophic, indole-3-acetic acid-producing endophyte from wild cottonwood. Biology and Fertility of Soils, 669–674.

Khan, Z., & Doty, S. L. (2009). Characterization of bacterial endophytes of sweet potato plants. Plant and Soil, 197–207.

Doty, S. L., Oakley, B., Xin, G., Kang, J. W., Singleton, G., Khan, Z., … Staley, J. T. (2009). Diazotrophic endophytes of native black cottonwood and willow. Symbiosis, 23–33.