Professor, Fungal Ecology and Population Biology
Associate Director, Center for Integrated Fungal Research
Director, Larry F. Grand Mycological Herbarium
225 Partners Building III
851 Main Campus Drive
Raleigh, NC 27606
Office phone: 919-513-1227
Lab phone 919-513-4840
Research in my laboratory has focused primarily on understanding the disease ecology, genome organization, soil microbiome, population biology, and systematics of the soil fungus Rhizoctonia solani, an economically important pathogen of a wide array of cultivated and native species of plants. Our research has revealed that R. solani is not a single species, but a species complex that represents an early diverging assemblage of fungi that may have given rise to the mushroom forming fungi. These results have provided a conceptual framework for delineating species, examining the genetic diversity and structure of field populations, determining the occurrence and transmission of fungal viruses, and identifying two previously undescribed Rhizoctonia 1) the disease-causing species of Rhizoctonia on agricultural plants and 2) beneficial species of Rhizoctonia on orchids. In addition to Rhizoctonia fungi, research from my lab has contributed to the development of methods for identifying other species of beneficial and disease-causing fungi of plants and more recently animals. My laboratory has also provided valuable bioinformatics, genomic, diagnostic, metabolomic, and microbiome resources for scientists interested in understanding the complex dynamics of different nuclear genomes in Rhizoctonia and other plant/soil associated beneficial and disease-causing fungi. This information has provided foundational knowledge for conducting comparative studies that address fundamental research questions related to host plant adaptation in relation to nuclear genome heterogeneity.
Ph.D. 1991 Plant Pathology, NC State University, Raleigh
M.S. 1983 Plant Pathology, University of Illinois, Urbana
B.S. 1980 Plant and Soil Science, University of Delaware, Newark
PP222 Kingdom of Fungi (fall and spring) – This course provides an overview of the diversity of fungi and their ecological, economic, and historical impact on the environment and society. The fall course is a taught in a traditional classroom setting (face-to-face) and supplemented with examination and discussion of fungal specimens. For the spring course, lectures, course content and discussions are presented and delivered in an online, distance education format.
PP575 Introduction to Mycology (fall, odd years) – This course provides a synthesis and survey of organisms in the Kingdom Fungi. Lectures focus on providing a comprehensive understanding of the biology, diversity, ecology, phylogeny, systematics, and taxonomy of fungi. The laboratory component of this course complements the lectures and involve characterizing, culturing, and identifying fungi sampled from diverse ecological habitats.
Selected Peer-Reviewed Publications (last 10 years)
- Becker, L.E., Adhikari, U., Mays, T., Shishkoff, N., Crouch, J.A. and Cubeta, M.A. Evaluation of boxwood cultivars for resistance to boxwood blight. Plant Disease Management Reports 15: OT008.
- LeBlanc, N., Cubeta, M.A., and Crouch, J. 2021. Population genomics trace clonal diversification and intercontinental migration of an emerging fungal disease of boxwood. Phytopathology 111(1):184-193, https://doi.org/10.1094/PHYTO-06-20-0219-FI. Invited submission for Special Population Focus Issus, Population Genomic and Phylogenomic Enabled Advances to Increase Insight Into Pathogen Biology and Epidemiology.
- Nowicki, M., Hadziabdic, D., Trigiano, R.N., Boggess, S.L., Kanetis, L., Wadl, P.A., Ojiambo, P., Cubeta, M.A., Spring, O., Thines, M., Runge, F., and Scheffler, B.E. 2021. ‘Jumping Jack’: Genomic microsatellites underscore the distinctiveness of closely related Pseudoperonospora cubensis and Pseudoperonospora humuli and provide new insights into their evolutionary past. Frontiers in Microbiology https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2021.686759
- Shishkoff, N. Miller, M.E., and Cubeta, M.A. 2021. Rooting response of healthy boxwood cultivars to hot water treatment and thermal inactivation of Calonectria henricotiaeand pseudonaviculata in diseased boxwood tissue. Journal of Environmental Horticulture 39(1):1-10, https://doi.org/10.24266/0738-2898-39.1.1
- Stalpers, J., Redhead, S.A., Rossman, A., Crouch, J.A., Cubeta, M.A., Kirschner, R., Langer, G.J., Larsson, K-H., Mack, J., Marvanova, L., May, T.W., Norvell, L.L., Oberwinkler, F., Roberts, P., Rajchenberg, R., Seifert, K.A., and Thorn, R.G. 2021. Competing sexual-asexual generic names in the Agaricomycotina (Basidiomycota) with recommendations for use. IMA Fungus 12:22 https://doi.org/10.1186/s43008-021-00061-3.
- Toms, A., White, J.B., Mahmood, S., Finlay, R.D., Stenlid, J., Cubeta, M.A., and Carbone, I.C. 2021. Biodiversity of fungi associated with orchid soils in Sweden: a case study for increased phylogenetic resolution of taxonomic and trophic relationships. Evolutionary Applications (In review, manuscript number EA-20-0957).
- Yow, A., Zhang, Y., Bansal, K, Maren, N., Eacker, S.M., Sullivan, S., Liachko, I., Cubeta, M.A., Rollins, J.A., and Ashrafi, H.. 2021. Genome sequence of Monilinia vaccini-corymbosi sheds light on mummy berry disease infection of blueberry and mating type. Genes Genomes Genetics 11(2), https://doi.org/10.1093/g3journal/jkaa052.
- Becker, L.E. and Cubeta, M.A. Increased flower production of Calibrachoa x hybrida by the soil fungus Mortierella elongata. Journal of Environmental Horticulture 38(4):114-119. https://doi.org/10.24266/0738-2898-38.4.114.
- Becker L.E. and Cubeta M.A. Evaluation of calibrachoa cultivars for black root rot resistance, 2019. Plant Disease Management Reports 14: OT013.
- Castroagudín, V.L., Weiland, J.E., Baysal-Gurel, F., Cubeta, M.A., Daughtrey, M, Gauthier, N.W., LaMondia, J., Luster, D.G., Hand, F.P., Shishkoff, N., Williams-Woodward, J., Yang, X., LeBlanc, N., and Crouch, J.A. 2020. One clonal lineage of Calonectria pseudonaviculata is primarily responsible for the boxwood blight epidemic in the United States. Phytopathology 110(11):1845-1853.https://doi.org/10.1094/PHYTO-04-20-0130-R. Cited as Editor’s pick for November.
- Flemming, A., Phillips, M., Shea, E.K., Bolton, A., Lincoln, C. Green, K.E., Mast, A. and Cubeta, M.A. Using Digital Natural History Collections in K-12 STEM Education. Journal of Museum Education, doi 10.1080/10598650.2020.1833296.
- Roberts, D., Cotter, H.V., Cubeta, M.A., and Gilger, B.C. 2020. In vitro susceptibility of Aspergillus and Fusarium associated with equine keratitis to new antifungal drugs. Veterinary Ophthalmology (https://doi.org/10.1111/vop.12774).
- Cullen, M., Jacob, M.E., Vanderschel, I.Q., Cotter, H.V.T., Cornish, V., Cubeta M.A., Carbone, I., and Gilger, B.C. 2019. Relationship of multi-locus DNA sequence analysis, anti-fungal agent susceptibility and equine fungal keratitis outcome. PLoS One, Mar 28;14(3):e0214214. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0214214. eCollection 2019.
- Koehler, A.M., Larkin, M.T., Rogers, L.W., Carbone, I., Cubeta, M.A., and Shew, H.D.2019. Identification and characterization of Septoria steviae as the causal agent of Septoria leaf spot disease of stevia in North Carolina. Mycologia 111:3, 456-465, DOI: 10.1080/00275514.2019.1584503.
- Green, K.E., Roller, C., and Cubeta, M.A. A plethora of fungi: developing mycological educational resources for biology and environmental science teachers and students. Science Activities ISSN: 0036-8121 (Print) 1940-1302 (Online) https://www.tandfonline.com/loi/vsca20.
- Salgado-Salazar, C., Shishkoff, N., LeBlanc, N., Ismaiel, A.A., Collins, M.D., Cubeta, M.A., and Crouch, J.A. 2019. Coccinonectria pachysandricola, causal agent of a new foliar blight disease of Sarcococca hookeriana. Plant Disease 103(4):1337-1346, https://doi.org/10.1094/PDIS-09-18-1676-RE
- Lookabaugh, E.C., Kerns, J.P., Shew, B.B, and Cubeta, M.A. Fitness attributes of Pythium aphanidermatum with dual resistance to mefenoxam and fenamidone. Plant Disease 102(10):1938-1943, doi.org/10.1094/PDIS-01-18-0043-RE.
- Miller, M.E., Shishkoff, N. and Cubeta, M.A. Thermal sensitivity of Calonectria henricotiae and Calonectria pseudonaviculata conidia and microsclerotia. Mycologia 110 (3): 546-558, doi:10.1080/002755514.2018.1465778.
- Burchhardt, K.M., Miller, M.E., Cline, W.O., and Cubeta, M.A. Fine-scale genetic structure and reproductive biology of the blueberry pathogen Monilinia vaccinii-corymbosi. Phytopathology 107:231-239, http://dx.doi.org/10.1094/PHYTO-02-16-0093-R.
- Duckworth, O.W., Andrews, M.Y., Cubeta, M.A., Grunden, A.M., and Ojiambo, P. 2017. Revisiting graduate student training to address agricultural and environmental societal challenges. Agric. Environ. Lett. 2:170019, doi:10.2134/ael2017.06.0019.
- Pettersson, M., Frampton, J., Rönnberg, J., Shew, H.D., Benson, D.M., Kohlway, W.H., Escanferla, M.E., and Cubeta, M.A. Increased diversity of Phytophthora species in Fraser fir Christmas tree plantations in the southern Appalachians. Scandinavian Journal of Forestry http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02827581.2016.1265144.
- Gonzalez, D, Rodriguez-Carres, M., Boekhout, T., Stalper, J., Kurame, E.E., Nakatani, A.K., Vilgalys, R., and Cubeta, M.A. Phylogenetic relationships of Rhizoctonia fungi within the Cantharellales. Fungal Biology 120:603-619.
- Burchhardt, K.M. and Cubeta, M.A. Population dynamics of the blueberry pathogen Monilinia vaccinii-corymbosi in the United States. Phytopathology 105:1-9.
- Chamoun, R., Samsatly, J., Pakala, S., Cubeta, M.A., and Jabaji, S. Suppression subtractive hybridization and comparative expression of a pore-forming toxin and glycosyl hydrolase genes in Rhizoctonia solani during potato sprout infection. Molecular Genetics and Genomics: (DOI: 10.1007/s00438-014-0962-x).
- Gkarmiri, K., Finlay, R.D., Alström, S., Thomas, E., Cubeta, M.A., and Högberg, N. 2015 Transcriptomic analyses of changes in gene expression in the fungal pathogen Rhizoctonia solani AG-3 in response to the bacterial antagonists Serratia proteamaculans and Serratia plymuthica. BMC Genomics 16:630 DOI 10.1186/s12864-015-1758-z.
- Miller, M.E., Norris, R. and Cubeta, M.A. Evaluation of boxwood cultivars for resistance to boxwood blight. Plant Disease Management Reports 10:OT009.
- Mothapo, N.V. Chen, H., Cubeta, M.A., Grossman, J.M., Fuller, F, and Shi, W. 2015. Phylogenetic, taxonomic and functional diversity of fungal denitrifiers and associated N2O production efficacy. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 83:160-175.
- Jr-Hau Jiang, J-H., Lee, Y-I., Cubeta, M.A., and Chen, L-C. 2015. Characterization and colonization of endomycorrhizal Rhizoctonia fungi in the medicinal herb Anoectochilus formosanus (Orchidaceae). Mycorrhiza DOI 10.1007/s00572-014-0616-1.
- Bazzle, L.J, Cubeta, M.A., Marks, S.L., and Dorman, D.C. 2014. Feasibility of flotation concentration of fungal spores as a method to identify toxigenic mushrooms. Vet Med Res Reports 2015(6):1-9, doi http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/VMRR.S67794.
- Cubeta, M.A., Thomas, E., Dean, R.A., Jabaji, S., Neate, S.M., Tavantzis, S., Toda, T., Vilgalys, R., Bharathan, N., Fedorova-Abrams, N., Pakala, S., Zafar, N., Joardar, V., Losada, L., and Nierman, W.C. 2014. Draft Genome Sequences of the Plant Pathogenic Fungus Rhizoctonia solani Anastomosis Group 3 Strain Rhs1AP. Genome Announc. 2(5):e1072-14. doi:10.1128/genomeA.01072-14.
- Losada, L., Pakala, S.B., Fedorova, N.D., Joardar, V., Shabalina. S., Hostetler, J., Pakala, S., Zafar, N., Thomas, E.T., Rodriguez-Carres, M., Dean R.A., Dykstra, M., Vilgalys, R.J., Nierman, W.C., and Cubeta, M.A. Mobile intron-like elements and novel mitochondrial genome expansion in the soil fungus and potato pathogen Rhizoctonia solani. FEMS Microbiology Letters 350:1-11 (DOI: 10.1111/1574-6968.12387). Cited as one of 10 articles to exemplify visualization in microbiology.
- Mothapo, N.V, Chen, H., Cubeta, M.A., and Shi, W. 2013. Nitrous oxide producing activity of diverse fungi from distinct agroecosystems. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 82:94-101.
- Bartz, F.E., Danehower, D.A., Glassbrook, N., and Cubeta, M.A. Modulation of the phenylacetic acid metabolic complex by quinic acid alters the disease-causing activity of Rhizoctonia solani on tomato. Phytochemistry 89: 47-52. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.phytochem.2012.09.018.
- Ferrucho, R.L., Garcia-Dominguez, C., Ramirez-Escobar, U.M., McDonald, B. A., Cubeta, M.A., and P.C. Ceresini, P.C. 2013. The population genetic structure of Rhizoctonia solani AG-3PT from potatoes in the Colombian Andes. Phytopathology 103:862-869.
- McCormick, M.A., Grand, L.F., Post, J.B., and Cubeta, M.A. 2013. Phylogenetic relatedness and phenotypic characterization of Fomes fasciatus and Fomes fomentarius sampled from the United States. Mycologia 105(6):1524-1535.
- McCormick, M.A., Cubeta, M.A., and Grand, L.F. 2013. Geography and hosts of the wood decay fungi Fomes fasciatus and Fomes fomentarius in the United States. North American Fungi 8(2):1-53. doi:10.2509/naf2013.008.002.
- Skamnaki, V., Peumans, W., Kantsadi, A., Cubeta, M.A., Plas, K., Pakala, S., Zographos, S., Smagghe, G., Nierman, W.C., Van Damme, E., and Leonidas, D. 2013. Structural analysis of the Rhizoctonia solani agglutinin reveals an unusual dimeric assembly. FEBS Letters 280(8):1750-1763. https://doi.org/10.1111/febs.12190
- Burchhardt, K. and Cubeta, M.A. Microsatellite marker development for the plant pathogenic fungus Monilinia vaccinii-corymbosi. Molecular Ecology Resources 12:72-74.
- Thomas, E., Pakala, S., Fedorova, N. D., Nierman, W. C., and Cubeta, M.A. Triallelic SNP-mediated genotyping of regenerated protoplasts of the heterokaryotic fungus Rhizoctonia solani. Journal of Biotechnology 158:144-150.
- Bartz, F.E., Danehower, D.A., Glassbrook, N., and Cubeta, M.A. Elucidating the role of phenylacetic acid and hydroxy- and methoxy- phenylacetic acid derivatives in the pathogenic activity of Rhizoctonia solani AG-3. Mycologia 104:793-803.
- Samuels, G., Ismaiel, A., McMahon, P., Guest, D., Rosmana, A., Junaid, M., Rodriguez-Carres, M., and Cubeta, M.A. 2012. Vascular streak dieback of cacao in Southeast Asia and Melanesia: in planta detection of the pathogen and a new taxonomy. Fungal Biology 116(1):11-23.