Plant Microbiology- Prof Doty

ESRM 422

Professor Sharon Lafferty Doty

Plant Microbiology Seminar

2 credits (CR/NC)

Course Description:

Microbes are often essential for plant growth, providing nutrients, pathogen resistance, and increased tolerance to stress. Other microbes can cause plant diseases.  Through weekly seminars and assigned readings, students will learn about the spectrum of plant microbe interactions.  In addition, students will conduct a literature review of a plant microbiology topic and write a short review.


Learning Objectives:

The educational goals of this course are:

  • To increase awareness of the variety of symbiotic relationships between plants and microbes, from pathogenic to mutualistic
  • To provide examples of plant-microbe interactions of local relevance from those conducting the research
  • To guide students in how to research a topic and write a short review paper, synthesizing a summary based on reading the primary literature.


Syllabus (Draft) – Winter 2020 (Mondays at 12:30 PM)

Jan 6: N fixation in non-legumes: Implications for Agriculture, Bioenergy and Forestry – Prof. Sharon Doty

Jan 13: Plant recognition of pests and pathogens- Prof. Adam Steinbrenner


Jan 27: Plant-microbe interactions in the canopy- Korena Mafune

Feb 3: Mycorrhizal fungi- Prof. Erica Cline

Feb 10: Forest Phytophthoras – Dr. Marianne Elliot (WSU-Puyallup)


Feb 24: Co-option of bacterial quorum sensing for interkingdom signaling- Dr. Amy Schaefer

Mar 2: Graduate student presentations

Mar 9: Graduate student presentations



The students will conduct a primary scientific literature review of an approved plant microbiology topic, and write a short review paper.  This will be 50% of the grade.  The steps in the process from topic selection, reference listing, and outline of the paper will be guided by Professor Doty.  In addition, students will be expected to participate in the seminar discussions and be prepared for class discussions by completing weekly related readings and answering questions about the readings via Canvas prior to class (50%).

Attendance and Participation: This course is designed to maximize your learning of the subject matter. Therefore, our attendance policy is aimed at supporting our educational goals.  Assignments are designed to help you prepare for class (e.g. online quizzes due before class) will not be accepted after the due date and time.  There will be a sign-in sheet for attendance.

 Example readings: A review paper on the week’s seminar topic will be provided via Canvas one week prior to the seminar.  Whenever possible, the chosen review article will be from a high quality journal.  For example, for the seminar, “Co-option of bacterial quorum sensing for inter-kingdom signaling,” the reading would be a review on quorum sensing such as Nature Reviews 2002 Vol 3, article 693.  For another example, for the seminar “Epiphytic N2 Fixation in Mosses of the PNW and the Boreal Forest,” the reading would be a review on N-fixation in mosses such as ISME Journal (2017) 11(12):2821-2833.


Disability Accommodations

To request academic accommodations due to a disability, contact:

Disability Resources for Students
011 Mary Gates Hall
206-543-8924 (V/TTY)


Academic Conduct

At the University level, passing anyone else’s scholarly work (which can include written material, exam answers, graphics or other images, and even ideas) as your own, without proper attribution, is considered academic misconduct.  However, for this course, it is not acceptable to copy and paste from a source, even when properly attributed, as it defeats the purpose of the assignment of researching and learning about the topic.  When you submit the writing assignment, note your VeriCite score.  If it is flagged as potential plagiarism (25% or higher), rewrite the flagged sections in your own words.  Plagiarism, cheating, and other misconduct are serious violations of the University of Washington Student Conduct Code (WAC 478‐120). We expect that you will know and follow university policies on cheating and plagiarism. Any suspected cases of academic misconduct will be handled according to university regulations. For more information, see the College of the Environment’s Academic Misconduct Policy and the Community Standards and Student Conduct website.

Washington state law requires that UW develop a policy for accommodation of student absences or significant hardship due to reasons of faith or conscience, or for organized religious activities. The UW’s policy, including more information about how to request an accommodation, is available at Religious Accommodations Policy ( Accommodations must be requested within the first two weeks of this course using the Religious Accommodations Request form (