Harwood Lab Research


Plant-Bacterial Communication

Populus, has the broadest geographic distribution of any North American tree genus and is a model plant being developed as a biofuel crop. We are involved in a large project to study Populus -associated microbes, how they communicate with their host and how they communicate with each other.

Screen Shot 2021-06-17 at 3.00.49 PM

Bacterial Longevity

It is well known that many bacteria can survive in a growth-arrested state for long periods of time, on the order of months or even years, without forming dormant structures like spores or cysts. How is such longevity possible? What is the molecular basis of such longevity? We are investigating this question with the phototrophic bacterium Rhodopseudomonas palustris (Rpal) as a model organism.

Screen Shot 2021-06-17 at 2.37.17 PM

Bacterial Persistence Control in Soils

Controlling the microbiomes of biomass crops for improved yields or drought tolerance for example, requires a fundamental understanding of how genetics determine cellular function at the single organism, microbial community, and ecosystem scales.