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NS Faculty - Lisa Morano

Dr. Lisa Morano photo

Lisa Morano

Professor of Biology & Microbiology

Office: STB109

Since coming to the University of Houston-Downtown in 2001, Dr. Morano's research interests have focused on several aspects of environmental microbiology and agroecology.  One area of focus in the lab is the ecology of the bacterium that causes Pierce's disease in grapevines.  This organism is a pathogen to the introduced European grape used for a majority of the grape and wine industry but is a harmless endophyte within a great number of Texas native plants.  In collaboration with other scientists, the lab has worked on the specific genetics and epidemiology of this disease at both local and national scales.  Her research has also included two USDA-NIFA funded educational programs.  In 2010 she ran the UHD Rocks to Wine program which gave UHD students education in geology, grape biology, winemaking, marketing and included undergraduate research and an industry internship.  In fall of 2015, she was awarded a USDA-NIFA grant to build new curriculum and experiential learning opportunities through the new UHD Center for Urban Agriculture and Sustainability (CUAS).  CUAS projects have included genetic fingerprinting of varieties of leafy greens, comparison of plant microbial communities that live within classic and heritage crops and building sustainable energy systems in collaboration with engineering technology.

  • Ph.D. in Viticulture & Enology, University of California, Davis, CA  
  • B.S. in Ecology & Environmental Biology, University of California, Irvine, CA
  • BIOL 3300: Undergraduate Research
  • BIOL 4360: Environmental Biology
  • BIOL 4380: Field Experience in Biology
  • CHEM 4380: Field Experience in Chemistry
  • MBIO 3340: Environmental Microbiology​
  • UHD 2303: University Seminar-Sciences​​

​​​Teaching Experience

  • 2001-present Assistant, Associate, and Professor of Biology and Microbiology, UHD.
  • 2001 Adjunct Faculty Biology, Alvin Community College, Alvin, TX.
  • 2001 Adjunct Faculty Biology, San Jacinto College South, Pearland, TX.
  • 1996-2000 Adjunct Faculty Biology, Washtenaw Community Ecology, Ann Arbor, MI.
  • 1998 Adjunct Faculty Biology, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, MI.
  • 1994-1996 Adjunct Faculty Biology, Cosumnes River College, Sacramento, CA.
  • 1994-1995 Adjunct Faculty Biology, University of California, Davis, CA.


Nunney, L., Hopkins, D. L., Morano, L., Russell, S.E., and R. Southamer. 2014.  Intersubspecific recombination in Xylella fastidiosa strains native to the United States: Infection of novel hosts associated with an unsuccessful invasion.  Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 80(3):1159-1169.

Yoon, J., Hrynkiv, V., Morano, L., Nguyen, A.T., Wilder, S. and F. Mitchell.  2014.  Mathematical modeling of Glassy-winged sharpshooter population. Journal Mathematical Biosciences and
Engineering.  11(3):667-677.

Lin, H., Islam, M.S., Morano, L., Groves, R., Bextine, B., Civerolo, E. and M.A. Walker.  2013.  Genetic variation of Xylella fastidiosa associated with grapevines in two major viticultural regions in the United States: California and Texas. Journal of Plant Pathology. 95(2):329-337. 

Nunney, L., Vickerman, D.B., Bromley, R.E., Russell, S.A., Hartman, J.R., Morano, L.D., and R. Southamer. 2013.  Recent radiation and host plant specialization in Xylella fastidiosa native to the United States. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 79(7):2189-2200.

Pierce, B., Morano, L., and Bextine, B. 2011. Development of Quantitative Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction protocols for rapid detection and differentiation of Xylella fastidiosa subsp. fastidiosa and Xylella fastidiosa. Journal of Plant Pathology and Microbiology. 2:111. doi:10.4172/2157-7471.1000111. 

Research Interest

The world currently has 7.4 billion people. It is expected to reach 9 billion in the next 20 years.  Given the earth contains limited space and resources this will provide critical challenges. On the one hand we must grow more food to feed more people and on the other hand, we must figure out ways to preserve areas that provide important ecosystem services such native plantings for pollination, wetlands for flood protection, and forests and oceans for climate control.  The next generation will be faced with pressing issues of climate change, chemical pollution, water shortages and increased resource needs in the developing world.  It is our responsibility that the next generation of students from all majors is equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to solve these global problems.  I am particularly interested in questions of agroecology – a specialty that sits at the intersection of agriculture and environmental science.  In agroecology, we try to solve important agricultural problems using scientific knowledge about the ecology and evolution of systems so that we may create practical and sustainable solutions for future generations.


2010 UHD Teaching Excellence Award Winner, University of Houston-Downtown, April 2010.

Phi Kappa Phi, invited membership in the University of Houston-Downtown Chapter, April 2009.

2009 T.V. Munson Award, Texas Wine, and Grape Growers Association. Austin, Texas. February 2009. Given to honor outstanding contributions to the grape and wine industry of Texas.

2007 UHD Scholarship/Creativity Research Award Winner, University of Houston-Downtown.  Houston, Texas. April 2007.

2007 UHD Teaching Excellence Award Finalist, University of Houston-Downtown.  Houston, Texas. April 2007.

2007 UHD Scholarship/Creativity Research Award Winner, University of Houston-Downtown.  Houston, Texas. April 2007.

2007 UHD Teaching Excellence Award Finalist, University of Houston-Downtown.  Houston, Texas. April 2007.

Board Member of the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association Research and Education Committee. Grapevine, Texas.  June 2006 - 2008.

Last updated 4/27/2020 7:59 AM