Dr. Martin Dickman

Research Emphasis:

Fungal – Plant Interactions; Programmed Cell Death
My research program centers on fundamental molecular aspects of fungal-plant interactions. From the fungal side my lab studies genes that regulate pathogenic development and signal communication. We also study  plant programmed cell death (apoptosis/autophagy),  the extent to which parallels exist between plant and animal systems and importantly, control and regulation of cell death by host  or pathogen. We have recently shown that modulation of cell death can be an effective means to control and understand certain diseases as well as abiotic stresses. The overall goals of these studies are understanding the mechanisms that regulate plant programmed cell death and the implementation of alternative strategies to generate transgenic plants with novel mechanisms of pathogen resistance and/or stress tolerance.


1979    B.S. in Horticulture, University of Hawaii, Hilo

1982    M.S. in Plant Pathology, University of Hawaii

1987    Ph.D. University of Hawaii, Plant Pathology

Honors and Awards Received

1991                  Junior Faculty Recognition for Excellence in Research Award  of Nebraska

2002                Distinguished Alumni Award- University of Hawaii-Hilo

2003-2005       Charles Bessey Professor of Plant Pathology- University of Nebraska

2003                Fellow, American Phytopathological Society

2006                Christine Richardson Professor of Agriculture-Texas A&M University

2011                E.C. Stakman Award for Research Excellence in Plant Pathology

2011                Fellow-American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

2014                Fellow-American Academy for Microbiology (ASM)

2015                University Distinguished Professor

Editor/Editorial Boards

1991-2000 Associate Editor, Applied and Environmental Microbiology
1996-2000 Associate Editor, Mycologia
1997-2013 Senior Editor, Physiological and Molecular Plant Pathology
1996-1999 Senior Editor, Archives of Microbiology
2001-2005 American Phytopathological Society-Senior Editor-APS Press
2009- Senior Editor-GM Crops
2010- Review Editor-Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology
2010- Review Editor-Frontiers in Plant Biotechnology
2012- Editor-in-Chief Molecular Plant Pathology
2013- Academic Editor -Microbial Cell

Selected Professional Activities

1990 US-AID International Development Grant Program Grant Review Committee
1996 USDA-CSRS Competitive Grants – Panel Member Plant Pathology
1997-1999 USDA-CSRS Competitive Grants – Panel Member – Special Grants
2001-2002 BARD –PANEL MANAGER -Crop protection
2003 National Science Foundation-Microbial Genome and Sequencing Panel
2005 USDA-CSRS Comp Grants-PROGRAM MANAGER-Biology of Plant-Microbe
2006 Department of Energy- Energy Biosciences Panel Member
2007-2008 Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST) Panel Member
2009 Bio-Protection Research Centre, External Advisory Committee-New Zealand
2007-2009 National Institute of Health (NIH) Development- Panel Member
2007 -2008 National Science Foundation (NSF) Symbiosis, Defense and Self-Recognition
2011- International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA-Panel Member-Mutation Breeding 2011- IITA Banana Improvement Program –Africa
2012-2014 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) Binational Agriculture Research and Development Fund (BARD) –Israel/United States
2012- 2014 Wolf Foundation Award-Panel
2014 National Science Foundation (NSF) CDF/Signaling Panel
2014 Bio-Protection Research Centre –International Science Advisory Board Panel Member Christchurch, New Zealand

Selected Peer Reviewed Publications

Podilla, G., Dickman, M. B. and Kolattukudy, P. E. 1988. Transcriptional activation of a cutinase gene in isolated fungal nuclei by plant cutin monomers. Science 242:922-925.
Dickman, M. B., Podila, G. K. and Kolattukudy, P. G. 1989. Insertion of cutinase gene into a wound pathogen enables it to infect intact host. Nature 342:446-448.

Wang, H., Jones, C., Ciacci-Zanella, J., Holt, T., Gilchrist, D. G. and Dickman, M. B. 1996. Fumonisins and AAL toxins: sphinganine analog mycotoxins induce apoptosis in monkey kidney cells. Proc Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 93:3461-3465.

Zhang, Y., Dickman, M. B. and Jones, C. 1999. The mycotoxin fumonisin B1 transcriptionally activates the p21 promoter through a cis acting element containing two Sp1 binding sites. Journal of Biological Chemistry 272:12367-12371.

Truesdell, G. M., Jones, C., Holt, T., Henderson, G. and Dickman, M. B. 1999. Defects in hyphal growth polarity and mammalian tumors induced by Ras from a phytopathogenic fungus. Mol. Gen. Genet. 262:46-54.

Cessna, S.G., Sears, V.E., Dickman, M.B., and Low, P.S. 2000. Oxalic acid, a pathogenicity factor for Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, suppresses the host plant oxidative burst. The Plant Cell 2:2191-2199.

Dickman, M.B., Park, Y.K., Oltersdorf, T., Li, W., Clemente, T., and French, R. 2001. Abrogation of disease development in plants expressing animal anti-apoptotic genes. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 98: 6957-6962.

Abramovitch, R.B., Kim, Y-K., Chen, S., Dickman, M. B. and Martin, G.B. 2003. Pseudomonas type III effector AvrPtoB induces plant disease susceptibility by inhibition of programmed cell death. EMBO J. 22: 60-69.

Jamir, Y., Guo, M., Oh, H-S., Petnicki-Ocvwieja, T., Chen S., Tang, X., Dickman, M.B., Collmer, A., and Alfano, J.R. 2004. Identification of Pseudomonas syringae type III effectors that suppress programmed cell death in eukaryotes. The Plant Journal 37:554-

Chen, C. and Dickman, M.B. 2005. cAMP blocks MAPK activation and sclerotial development via Rap-1 in a PKA-independent manner in Sclerotinia sclerotiorum. Mol. Micrbiol. 55: 299-311.

Chen, C., and Dickman, M.B. 2005. Proline suppresses apoptosis in the fungal pathogen Colletotrichum trifolii. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 102: 3459-3464.

Doukhanina, E.V., Chen, S., van der Zalm, E. Godzik, A., Reed, J. and Dickman, M.B. 2006. Identification and functional characterization of the BAG protein family in Arabidopsis thaliana. Journal of Biological Chemistry 281:18793-18801.

Kim. K.Y., Min, J-Y., and Dickman, M.B. 2008. Oxalic acid is an elicitor of plant programmed cell death during Sclerotinia sclerotiorum disease development. Molecular Plant Microbe Interactions 21:605-612.

Williams, B., and Dickman, M.B. 2008. Plant programmed cell death: can’t live with it; can’t live without it. Molecular Plant Pathology 9: 531-544.

Williams, B., Kabbage, M., Britt, R., and Dickman, M.B. 2010. AtBAG7, a unique endoplasmic reticulum-localized Bcl-2 associated athanogene is involved in stress responses in Arabidopsis. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 107: 6088-6093.

Williams, B., Kabbage, M., Kim, H-J., Britt, R. and Dickman, M.B. 2011. Tipping the balance: Sclerotinia sclerotiorum secreted oxalic acid suppresses host defenses by manipulating the host redox environment. PLoS Pathogens 7:1-10.

Amselem, J., Cuomo. C., van Kan Kan, J….…………..and Dickman, M.B.2011. Genomic analysis of the necrotrophic fungal pathogens Sclerotinia sclerotiorum and Botrytis cinerea. PLoS Genetics 7: e1002230.

Dickman, M.B. and de Figuerido, P. 2011. Comparative pathobiology of fungal pathogens of plants and animals. PLoS Pathogens. 7: e1002324

Bar-Dror, T., Dermastia, M., Kladnik, A., Znidaric., M.T., Novak, M.P., Meir, S., Burd,S., Philosoph-Hadas,S., Ori,N., Sonego,L., Dickman, M.B. and Lers, A. 2011. Programmed cell death occurs in an asymmetric manner during abscission. Plant Cell 23:4146-4163

O’Connell, R., et al., 2012. Life-style transitions in plant pathogenic Colletotrichum fungi deciphered by genome and transcriptome analyses. Nature Genetics 44, 1060-

Kabbage, M; Williams, B., Dickman, MB. 2013. Cell death control: The interplay of apoptosis and autophagy in the pathogenicity of Sclerotinia sclerotiorum. PLoS Pathogens 9: e1003287

Dickman, M.B. and Fluhr, R. 2013. Centrality of host cell death in plant-microbe interactions. Annu. Rev. Phytopathol. 51: 25.1-25.28.

Dickman, M.B. and de Figueiredo, P. 2013. Death be not proud—cell death control in host fungal interactions. PLoS Pathogens 9: e1003542

Xinwen Liang Martin B. Dickman, and Donald F. Becker. 2014. Proline protects against endoplasmic reticulum stress in Sacchromyses cerevisiae. Journal of Biological Chemistry 289:27794-27806.

Williams ,B., Verchot, JM, and Dickman, M.B. 2014. When Supply Does Not Meet Demand-ER Stress and Plant Programmed Cell Death. Frontiers in Plant Science

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