New faculty profile: Mehdi Kabbage

Kabbage_Mehdi_0Mehdi Kabbage joined the faculty in the Department of Plant Pathology as an assistant professor in March 2013.

Briefly describe your career path—up to this point.
After earning the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree in engineering in Toulouse, France, I came to the United States and earned master’s and doctoral degrees in plant pathology at Kansas State University. From there, I took a post-doctoral research position at the Institute for Plant Genomics and Biotechnology at Texas A&M University that led to an associate research scientist position also at Texas A&M. I am currently a mycologist in the Department of Plant Pathology at UW-Madison.

What is the main focus of your research program?
As a mycologist with an interest in plant fungal interactions, my overall research goal is to generate a complete description of necrotrophic fungal pathogenesis that will lead to suitable control strategies. Plant associated fungi and oomycetes have adopted different lifestyles and strategies to achieve pathogenic success. Necrotrophic pathogens, by definition, require dead host cells for nutrient acquisition. I am interested in understanding how cell death pathways are modulated in response to fungal necrotrophs. Because the control of cell death is crucial to the outcome of many plant-fungal interactions, I am also interested in identifying the mechanistic details of plant programmed cell death in the context of stress tolerance and disease resistance.

What drew you to UW-Madison?
The Department of Plant Pathology at UW-Madison is renowned worldwide for its exceptional academics and research programs. This is an incredible opportunity for any young scientist. Additionally, there are tremendous opportunities to develop collaborations within a particularly strong biological science family.