James R. Alfano, Ph.D.
E-Mail: jalfano2@unl.edu 

Research Interests:  Dr. Alfano's research focuses on elucidating how bacterial pathogens cause disease in plants and how their strategies differ from those employed by bacterial pathogens of animals. His lab researches the type III (Hrp) secretion system (TTSS) present in the bacterial plant pathogen, Pseudomonas syringae. TTSSs are present in many Gram-negative pathogens of plants and animals. These protein secretion system inject bacterial proteins into eukaryotic cells where they modify signal transduction pathways to favor disease.  

For more information on Dr. Alfano: Web Site (click on additional information)

James L. Van Etten, Ph.D.
E-Mail: jvan-etten1@unl.edu
Research Interests:  The Van Etten lab characterizes viruses that infect algae.  The algal viruses are among the largest DNA viruses discovered to date and have 375 or more protein-encoding genes as well as many transfer RNA encoding genes. The biological function of about 50% of these virus-encoded proteins have been identified.  Many of these proteins are completely unexpected and have not been found in viruses previously.  The algal viruses also contain other properties that are more typical of cellular organisms including introns and inteins.

Accumulating evidence indicates that these viruses and their genes have a long evolutionary history, possibly dating back to the time that prokaryotes and eukaryotes diverged, more than 3 billion years ago.  Our lab has a wide range of projects dealing with these viruses that range from basic molecular biology to more ecological studies.

For more information on Dr. Van Etten: Web Site (click on additional information)