María del Mar Jiménez Gasco, Ph.D.

  • Associate Professor
  • Coordinator and Adviser of the Minor in Plant Pathology
María del Mar Jiménez Gasco, Ph.D.
309 Buckhout Lab (office)
402/403 Buckhout Lab (labs)

University Park, PA 16802
Work Phone: 814-863-2355
Fax: 814-863-7217

Areas of Expertise

  • Population biology
  • Ecology of plant-associated microorganisms
  • Fusarium and Verticillium wilts

Connect with María del Mar Jiménez Gasco, Ph.D.



  1. M.Eng. 1997. Agricultural Sciences, College of Agricultural Engineering, University of Cordoba, Spain
  2. Ph.D. 2001. Crop Protection, Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (IAS-CSIC) and University of Cordoba, Spain

Areas of Interest

Population biology of plant pathogens; Evolution of pathogenicity and virulence; Ecology of plant-associated microorganisms; Endophytic interactions; Vascular wilt fungi; Antifungal materials

Program Interests

I am fundamentally interested in the population-level processes that lead to the evolution of plant pathogenicity, virulence, and the emergence of fungicide and antibiotic resistance in microbial populations. In my lab we use molecular tools to study these processes within a population biology approach that connects population genetics and epidemiology. Research projects in my program currently focus on:

  • The ecological interactions between Fusarium oxysporum and plants, specifically non-pathogenic, endophytic interactions and their role in the emergence and evolution of plant pathogenicity. We are currently studying populations of F. oxysporum f.sp. cubense causing Panama disease of banana in Ecuador, endophytes from banana and chickpeas, and populations sampled from tomato fields.

  • The dual role of Verticillium dahliae, pathogenic on certain plants and endophytic on others, and the implications on the biology, ecology, persistence, and spread of this plant pathogenic fungus in agroecosystems. We are currently studying the effect of rotations in the development of Verticillium wilt of potato.

  • The development of resistance to chemicals used for disease management in agroecosystems. We are specifically studying changes in bacterial populations of the pathogen Xanthomonas arboricola pv. pruni  causing bacterial leaf spot of peach in PA, as a result of repeated use of the antibiotic oxytetracycline.

Research Team

Recent Publications

Ahmad, I., Jiménez-Gasco, M.M., Luthe, D.S., and Barbercheck, M.E. 2020. Systemic colonization by Metarhizium robertsii enhances cover crop growth. Journal of Fungi 6, 64: 1-16.

Ahmad, I., Jiménez-Gasco, M.M., Luthe, D.S., Shakeel, S.N., and Barbercheck, M.E. 2020. Endophytic Metarhizium robertsii promotes maize growth, suppresses insect growth, and alters plant defense gene expression. Biological Control 144: 104167.

Magdama, F., Monserrate-Maggi, L., Serrano, L., Sosa, D., Geiser., D.M., and Jiménez-Gasco, M.M. 2019. Comparative analysis uncovers the limitations of current molecular detection methods for Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense race 4 strains. PLoS ONE 14(9): e0222727. 10.1371/journal.pone.0222727.

Aynardi, B.A., Jiménez-Gasco, M.M. and Uddin, W. 2019. Effects of Type I and Type II isolates of Clarireedia spp. on severity of dollar spot in turfgrasses by host type.  European Journal of Plant Pathology 155: 817-829.

Bell, T.H., Hockett, K.L., Alcalá-Briseño, R.I., Barbercheck, M., Beattie, G.A., Bruns, M.A., Carlson, J.E., Chung, T., Collins, A., Emmet, B., Esker, P., Garrett, K.A., Glenna, L., Gugino, B., Jiménez-Gasco, M.M., Kinkel, L., Kovac, J., Kowalski, K.P., Kuldau, G., Leveau, J.H., Michalska-Smith, M.J., Myrick, J,. Peter, K., Shade, A., Stopnisek, N., Tan, X., Welty, A.T., Wickings, K., and Yergeau, E. 2019. Manipulating Wild and Tamed Phytobiomes: Challenges and Opportunities. Phytobiomes Journal 3: 3-21.

Rafiei, V., Banihashemi, Z., Bautista-Jalon, L.S., Jiménez-Gasco, M.M., Turgeon, B.G., and Milgroom, M.G. 2018. Genetic relationships among populations of Verticillium dahliae from cotton and pistachio in Iran using microsatellite markers and genotyping by sequencing. Phytopathology 108: 780-788.

Sitther, V., Garrido Haro, P.A., Molineros, J. E., Garzón, C.D, and Jiménez-Gasco, M.M. 2018. Genetic diversity of apple- and crabapple-infecting isolates of Venturia inaequalis in Pennsylvania, United States, determined by microsatellite markers. Forest Pathology 48:e12405.

Rafiei, V., Banihashemi, Z., Jiménez-Díaz, R.M., Navas-Cortés, J.A., Landa, B.B., Jiménez-Gasco, M.M., Turgeon, B.G., and Milgroom, M.G. 2018. Comparison of genotyping by sequencing and microsatellite markers for unravelling population structure in the clonal fungus Verticillium dahliae. Plant Pathology 67: 76-86.

Jiménez-Díaz, R.M., Olivares-García, C., Trapero-Casas, J.L., Jiménez-Gasco, M.M., Navas-Cortés, J.A., Landa., B.B., and  Milgroom, M.G. 2017. Variation of pathotypes and races and their correlations with clonal lineages in Verticillium dahliae. Plant Pathology 66: 651–666.

Milgroom, M.G., Jiménez-Gasco, M.M., Olivares-García, C., and Jiménez-Díaz, R.M. 2016. Clonal expansion and migration of a highly virulent, defoliating lineage of Verticillium dahliae. Phytopathology 106: 1038-1046.

Demers, J.E. and Jiménez-Gasco, M.M. 2016. Evolution of nine microsatellite loci in the fungus Fusarium oxysporum. Journal of Molecular Evolution 82: 27-37.

Jiménez-Díaz, R.M., Castillo, P., Jiménez-Gasco, M.M., Landa., B.B., and Navas-Cortés, J.A. 2015. Fusarium wilt of chickpeas: Biology, ecology and management. Crop Protection 73:16-27.

Guo, L., Blatt, A.Z., Geiser, D.M., Jiménez-Gasco, M.M., and Kuldau, G.A. 2015. Mating type and spore killing characterization of Fusarium verticillioides strains. Mycological Progress 14: 16.

Demers, J.E., Gugino, B.K., and Jiménez-Gasco, M.M. 2015. Highly diverse endophytic and soil Fusarium oxysporum populations associated with field-grown tomato plants. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 81: 81-90.

Milgroom, M.G., Jiménez-Gasco, M.M., Olivares-Garcia, C., Drott, M.T., and Jiménez-Díaz, R.M. 2014. Recombination between clonal lineages of the asexual fungus Verticillium dahliae detected by Genotyping by Sequencing. PloS ONE 9(9): e106740.

Demers, J.E., Garzon, C.D., and Jiménez-Gasco, M.M. 2014. Striking genetic similarity between races of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. ciceris confirms a monophyletic origin and clonal evolution of the chickpea vascular wilt pathogen. European Journal of Plant Pathology 139: 303-318.

Jiménez-Gasco, M.M., Malcolm, G.M., Berbegal, M., Armengol, J., and Jiménez-Díaz, R.M. 2014. Complex molecular relationship between Vegetative Compatibility Groups in Verticillium dahliae: VCGs do not always align with clonal lineages. Phytopathology 104: 650-659.

Testen, A. L., Jiménez-Gasco, M.M., Ochoa, J. B., and Backman, P.A. 2014. Molecular detection of Peronospora variabilis in quinoa seeds and phylogeny of the quinoa downy mildew pathogen in South America and the United States. Phytopathology 104: 379-386.

Kang, S., Demers, J., Jiménez-Gasco, M.M., and Rep, M. 2014. Fusarium oxysporum. Chapter 5 in “Genomics of Plant-Associated Fungi and Oomycetes: Dicot Pathogens”. R. A. Dean, A. Lichens-Park, and K. Chittaranjan (Eds.). Pages 99-120. ISBN: 978-3-662-44055-1. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Malcolm, G.M., Kuldau, G.A., Gugino, B.K., and Jiménez-Gasco, M.M. 2013. LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Hidden host plant associations of soilborne fungal pathogens: An ecological perspective. Phytopathology 103: 538-544.

Elmer, W.H., Useman, S., Schneider, R.W., Marra, R.E., LaMondia, J.A., Mendelssohn, I.A., Jiménez-Gasco, M.M., and Caruso, F.L. 2013. FEATURE: Sudden Vegetation Dieback in Atlantic and Gulf Coast Salt Marshes. Plant Disease 97: 436-445.

Remesal, E., Landa, B.B., Jiménez-Gasco, M.M. and Navas-Cortes, J.A. 2013. Sequence variation of protein-coding genes as a diagnostic tool for the identification of Mycelial Compatibility Groups in Sclerotium rolfsii. Phytopathology 103: 479-487.

Geiser, D.M. Aoki, T., Bacon, C.W., Baker, S.E., Bhattacharayya, M.B., Brandt, M., Burgess, L.W., Chulze, S., Coleman, J.J., Correll, J.C., Covert, S.F., Crous, P.W., Cuomo, C.A., de Hoog, G.S., Di Pietro, A., Elmer, W.H., Epstein, L., Frandsen, R.J.N., Freeman, S., Gagkaeva, T., Glenn, A.E., Gordon, T.R., Gregory, N.F., Hammond-Kosack, K.E., Hanson, L.E., Jiménez-Gasco, M.M., Kang, S., Kistler, H.C., Kuldau, G.A., Leslie, J.F., Logrieco, A., Lu, G., Lysøe, E., Ma, L., McCormick, S.P., Migheli, Q., Moretti, A., Munaut, F., O'Donnell, K., Pfenning, L.H., Ploetz, R.C., Proctor, R.H., Rehner, S.A., Robert, V.A.R.G., Rooney, A.P., Salleh, B., Scandiani, M.M., Scauflaire, J., Short, D.P.G., Steenkamp, E.T., Suga, H., Summerell, B.A., Sutton, D.A., Thrane, U., Trail, F., van Diepeningen, A., VanEtten, H.D., Viljoen, A., Waalwijk, C., Ward, T.J., Wingfield, M.J., Xu, J., Yang, X., Yli-Mattila, T., and Zhang, N. 2013. LETTER TO THE EDITOR: One Fungus, One Name: Defining the genus Fusarium in a scientifically robust way that preserves longstanding use. Phytopathology 103: 400-408.