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Research and Educational Excellence

The Lab

Here is Dr Lisa Morano and some of her students researches at the pierce's Disease Laboratory.
Johnny Ray Ramos
I am a Biology major and I am plainig to continue on to Graduate School when I graduate. I am currently doing research in Dr Lisa Morano's research lab. We are studing Xyllealla fastidiosa.
Audrey Gonzales
I am a Biology major in my senior year at UHD. I am in the Joint Admission Medical Program (JAMP) and I am going to pursue a career in medicine. I am currently doing research with Dr. Morano under the undergraduates in Biological and Mathematical Sciences Program (UBM). I am also obsessed with soccer and I wish that I had enough money to go skydiving every day.
Flor Castro
I am a microbiology student at University of Houston-Downtown. Currently I’m working on biofilm quantification of the plant pathogen Xylella fastidiosa using a crystal violet assay in a micro-well plate. Specifically, I am testing the effect of grape sap on Xylella fastidiosa biofilm formation to see if it improves the growth rate and amount of biofilm formed. I have been doing research with Dr. Morano for a year. After I graduate I hope to attend a PA program.
Gloria Abarca
My name is Gloria Abarca and I am a junior at the UHD. My major is biology and I started doing research along with Dr. Morano in summer 2009. I have worked with different primers that have the ability to detect unique strains of Xylella fastidiosa. Identification of Xylella samples using primers such as gyrase B will confirm unknown Xylella samples as either grape, weed or oleander strains. This is important to map the movement of Xylella strains around Texas. After graduating from UHD, I plan to attend medical school and pursue a career in family medicine.
Matthew Ojeda
My name is Matthew Ojeda and I am a junior at UHD. My major is Microbiology and I have done research in the Natural Science Department for two consecutive summers. The focus of my research with Dr. Morano in this summer of 2009 is the confirmation of Xylella fastidiosa (Xf) bacterial samples by using various bimolecular techniques. Before evaluating the genetic diversity of cultures across the state of determining which isolates are most pathogenic, we must first identify each isolate correctly. Genetic identification involves Polymerase chain reactions (PCR) with primers like that are Xf-specific like the gyrase B gene and a set of multiple primers specific for Xf oleander, grape or weed strains. After obtaining my Bachelors degree in Microbiology my plan is to attend medical school and purse a career in surgery.
Stephen Seidel
My name is Stephen Seidel and I am a senior Biology major. I am currently working on fingerprinting various strains of Xylella fastidiosa by comparing Small Sequences Repeats (SSR) in their genomes. This will allow us to map the origin of new X. fastidiosa isolates in newly infected areas of Texas. I am planning on pursuing a Masters in Public Health, focusing on the epidemiology of parasitic organisms.
Kelly Phillips
My name is Kelly Phillips and I am a senior majoring in Biology with a minor in Chemistry. I plan to pursue a PhD in environmental microbiology, and/or molecular biology with an emphasis on pathogenic diseases in order to fulfill my career goal of becoming a research scientist. Currently, I am working in Dr. Morano's lab on a project to differentiate between strains of Xylella fastidiosa. This bacterium causes Pierce’s disease in grapevines and has devastated many vineyards in both California and Texas. Specifically, I am studying small sequence base repeats in the genome of different strains. SSRs or small sequence repeats are small genome sequences that change faster showing greater differences among strains than the more conserved genes. We hope to answer epidemiological questions about how X. fastidiosa is spreading around Texas over short time scales of months to years. This may aid in controlling the spread of Pierce's disease.
Adolfo Lara
Hello, my name is Adolfo Lara and I am currently working towards my Biology degree. I will be a sophomore in Fall 2009. I am working on the expression of genes of the bacteria Xylella fastidiosa when expressed to different types of plant sap. This bacterium causes serious problems for the grape industry. We hypothesize that when the grape strain of the bacteria is exposed to grape sap it will turn on genes that are important during its infection of grape plants. After graduation I plan to attend medical school or continue on in research.


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Last updated or reviewed on 8/6/09

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