Michelle Hulin joins PSM faculty

New plant pathologist brings fresh experience to long-term crop concern

Meet Dr. Hulin! Michelle joined Michigan State University this month as an assistant professor. She comes directly from the U.K, where she earned her PhD working on bacterial diseases of cherry trees at the University of Reading, based at the National Institute of Agricultural Botany in Kent. Michelle also did her first postdoc at NIAB, and then moved to Norwich for a postdoc appointment at The Sainsbury Laboratory—a world-leading institute for plant pathogen research.

Michelle has found that she is infinitely curious about bacteria that can live on plants without causing disease-- sometimes even benefiting the plant—and then, under certain conditions, may become pathogens.

“I’m interested in the emergence of 

bacterial plant diseases and

determining factors that influence

virulence evolution in the field.”


Here in PSM, Michelle plans to continue working on bacterial evolution and molecular plant pathology, mostly focusing on Pseudomonas syringae – a group of bacteria that affects a diverse host group.  Pseudomonas syringae is a major pathogen of cherry trees and causes bacterial canker disease. Cherries are both important economically and part of the cultural heritage of Michigan. Michelle will continue some of her work on cherry-pathogenic Pseudomonas as well as study other important bacterial plant pathogens. 

“I want to deepen our understanding of the evolution of virulence and host range in plant-associated bacterial populations, specifically, the role that mobile genetic elements like plasmids and bacteriophages play in this process. My program will integrate molecular biology, computational analyses, plant pathology, and fieldwork to comprehensively study crucial bacterial diseases in crops.” Welcome Michelle!  Read more about Michelle Hulin


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