Erin Zess

PhD Student
Sophien Kamoun Group

I am interested in studying plant-pathogen interactions from the microbial perspective, with an acute focus on pathogen evolution and the molecular mechanisms of host adaptation. My PhD research will explore these themes using the oomycete pathogens Phytophthora infestans and P. mirabilis, as well as different host-specific subgroups of the fungal pathogen Magnaporthe oryzae.


Upson JL, Zess EK, Bialas A, Wu CH, Kamoun S (2018)

The coming of age of EvoMPMI: evolutionary molecular plant-microbe interactions across multiple timescales. bioRxiv preprint Jan 28, 2018 doi:

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Bialas A, Zess EK, De la Concepcion JC, Franceschetti M, Pennington HG, Yoshida K, Upson JL, Chanclud E, Wu C-H, Langner T, Maqbool A, Varden FA, Derevnina L, Belhaj K, Fujisaki K, Saitoh H, Terauchi R, Banfield MJ, Kamoun S (2017)

Lessons in effector and NLR biology of plant-microbe systems. bioRxiv preprint Aug 2, 2017 doi:

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Maqbool A, Hughes RK, Dagdas YF, Tregidgo N, Zess E, Belhaj K, Round A, Bozkurt TO, Kamoun S, Banfield MJ (2016)

Structural basis of host Autophagy-related protein 8 (ATG8) binding by the Irish potato famine pathogen effector protein PexRD54. J Biol Chem. 2016 Jul 25. pii: jbc.M116.744995.

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Job History

2015 – present PhD Student, John Innes Centre & The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich, UK

2011 – 2015 BSc in Microbiology, University of Wisconsin, Madison

2014 – 2014 Agronomic traits gene discovery intern, Monsanto Company