Taming Fungus

fungus on corn
Jyoti Shah, chair of UNT's Department of Biological Sciences, is working to knock out a crop fungus that could improve food availability for future generations.

Jyoti Shah, chair of UNT's Department of Biological Sciences, is working to knock out a crop fungus that could improve food availability for future generations. In his research, Shah is looking at Fusarium head blight, a disease that affects wheat and barley. When this disease occurs, it results in losses ranging from $300 million to $1 billion per year in the U.S. alone. To counter this costly affliction, Shah and his team are working to identify genes in the wheat plant that may make it susceptible to the fungus. Reducing activity of these genes makes the wheat plant more resistant to the disease. Shah's research is funded through the U.S. Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.