Emma Rosenthal

  • Ph.D. Student
  • NSF Graduate Research Fellow
  • Advised by: Dr. Carolee Bull
Emma Rosenthal
111 Buckhout Lab
University Park, PA 16802
Work Phone: 814-863-5740
Fax: 814-863-7217

Areas of Expertise

  • Translational taxonomy
  • Plant-pathogen interaction
  • Molecular biology
  • Bioinformatics


  1. B.S. in Biology, Cornell University. Class of 2015.

Research Area

Food security depends on the development of disease-resistant crops; however, the rapid evolution of plant pathogens to evade host defenses is a constant threat to agriculture. Modern studies of plant-pathogen interactions seek to reveal a genetic basis for disease resistance and pathogenicity. Bacterial leaf spot on lettuce (BLS) is one disease that can serve as a model system. The causal agent, Xanthomonas campestris pv. vitians (Xcv), has evolved into distinct races that vary for pathogenicity across lettuce cultivars. An understanding of this race-specific pathogenicity can later be applied in the development of refined detection methods and more comprehensive management strategies, especially those that would outlast pathogen evolution.

Since the Fall of 2016, I have been studying Phytobacteriology at Penn State. My goal is to employ tools of bacterial taxonomy, molecular biology, and bioinformatics to investigate the genetic origin of race-specific pathogenicity in Xcv. On a more applied side, I will develop a multiplex PCR to allow for race-specific detection from tissue samples and seed, which will lead to more refined cultivar recommendations for growers.

Grants and Awards

  • NSF Graduate Research Fellow. June 2018. 
  • Tag-Along Fund for presenting on Bacterial Taxonomy at the University of Angers, France. College of Agricultural Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University. February 2018. 
  • Alan McNab Memorial Endowment for Vegetable Research. The Pennsylvania State University. June 2017. 
  • NASA PA Space Grant Consortium Graduate Research Fellowship. The Pennsylvania State University. June 2017. 
  • Bunton Waller Graduate Assistantship. The Pennsylvania State University. April 2016. 
  • Distinction in Research, Honors. Cornell University. May 2015. 


  • Rosenthal E.R., Ramos L., Bull C.T., and Koike S.T. (2017) "First Report of Black Rot Caused by Xanthomonas campestris on Arugula in California." Plant Disease.

Teaching Experience 

  • Teaching Assistant for PPEM 405: Microbes and Plants - Fall 2017, Fall 2018. The Pennsylvania State University.
  • Teaching Assistant for AGECO 121: Plant Stress, laboratory sections - Fall 2016. The Pennsylvania State University.


  • Co-chair, Penn State Strategic Planning Group, Latino Agriculture Outreach - Fall 2017 to present. College of Agricultural Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University. 
  • Secretary, Plant Pathology Association - August 2017 to present. The Pennsylvania State University.
  • Member, Curriculum Committee - August 2017 to 2018. Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology. The Pennsylvania State University. 
  • Member, Public Communications Committee - August 2016 to 2017. Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology. The Pennsylvania State University. 
  • Treasurer, Plant Pathology Association - August 2016 to 2017. The Pennsylvania State University.