Professor, Soil Mycology and Plant Disease Ecology
Associate Director, CIFR
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,
Fax: 919-513-0024


My laboratory is interested in understanding the ecology and population genetics of soil fungi that cause plant disease. The ultimate goal of my research program is to generate science-based knowledge that will result in the deployment of improved disease management approaches that reduce economic losses to plant disease while promoting increased productivity, sustainability and plant health. For many years we have studied the soil fungusRhizoctonia solani, which is an economically important pathogen of agricultural and forestry crops throughout the world. However, the fungus can also infect non-cultivated species of plants in natural ecosystems and is of ecological importance as a recycler of nutrients in soil. Research conducted in my laboratory has provided a conceptual framework for identifying species of R. solani to better define populations to advance our understanding of the evolutionary history and disease ecology of the fungus. Our research suggests that R. solani is not a single species, but is a genetically diverse assemblage of species that represent an important early diverging and transitional group of the mushroom forming fungi. Current research in my lab is focused on the use of “omic”-based methods to better understand the genetic basis of how R. solani produces microsclerotia, which are structures that promote long-term survival of the fungus in soil in absence of a plant host. More recently we have been involved in the study of Rhizoctonia fungi associated with terrestrial species of orchids. These fungi benefit orchids by increasing seed germination and seedling growth. Information generated from this collaborative research project is being used to develop improved approaches to conserve terrestrial species of orchids native to the US.


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 the 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 complement the lectures and involve characterizing, culturing and identifying fungi sampled from diverse ecological habitats.

Selected Peer-Reviewed Publications


Bazzle, L., 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. (In Press).

Burchhardt, K.M. and Cubeta, M.A. 2014. Population dynamics of the blueberry pathogenMonilinia vaccinii-corymbosi in the United States. Phytopathology 104: (Accepted, manuscript number PHYTO-03-14-0074-R).

Chamoun, R., Samsatly, J., Pakala, S., Cubeta, M.A., and Suha Jabaji, S. 2014. 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: (Accepted, manuscript number MGAG-D-14-00189).

Jr-Hau Jiang, J-H., Lee, Y-I., Cubeta, M.A., and Chen, L-C. 2014. Characterization and colonization of endomycorrhizal Rhizoctonia fungi in the medicinal herb Anoectochilus formosanus (Orchidaceae). Mycorrhizae. (Accepted, manuscript number MCOR-D-14-00082).

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., Vilgalys, R.J., Nierman, W.C., andCubeta, M.A. 2014. Mobile intron-like elements and novel mitochondrial genome expansion in the soil fungus and potato pathogen Rhizoctonia solani. FEMS Letters 350:1-11 (DOI: 10.1111/1574-6968.12387).


Bartz, F.E., Danehower, D.A., Glassbrook, N., and Cubeta, M.A. 2013. Modulation of the phenylacetic acid metabolic complex by quinic acid alters the disease-causing activity ofRhizoctonia solani on tomato. Phytochemistry 75:

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.

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 66:94-101.

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 theRhizoctonia solani agglutinin reveals an unusual dimeric assembly. FEBS Journal 280:1750-1763.


Bartz, F.E., Danehower, D.A., Glassbrook, N., and Cubeta, M.A. 2012. 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.

Burchhardt, K. and Cubeta, M.A. 2012. Microsatellite marker development for the plant pathogenic fungus Monilinia vaccinii-corymbosi. Molecular Ecology Resources 12:72-74.

Mozley, S.E., Porter, D, and Cubeta, M.A. 2012. Concepts and Laboratory Exercises with Zoosporic Fungi. In Plant Pathology Laboratory Exercises and Concepts. CRC Press, eds. Trigiano and Windham, pp. 91-98.

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.

Thomas, E., Pakala, S., Fedorova, N. D., Nierman, W. C., and Cubeta, M. A. 2012. Triallelic SNP-mediated genotyping of regenerated protoplasts of the heterokaryotic fungus Rhizoctonia solani. Journal of Biotechnology 158:144-150.


Aliferis, K.A., Jabaji, S., and Cubeta, M.A. 2011. Chemotaxonomy of fungi in the Rhizoctonia solani species complex using GC/MS metabolic profiling. Metabolomics (30 July), pp 1-11, doi:10.1007/s11306-011-0340-1.

Copes, W., Rodriguez-Carres, M., Toda, T., Rinehart, T.A., and Cubeta, M.A. 2011. Seasonal prevalence of species of binucleate Rhizoctonia fungi in growing medium, leaf litter, and stems of container grown azalea. Plant Dis. 95:705-711.

Kaye, A.C., Moyer, J.W., Parks, E.J., Carbone, I., and Cubeta, M.A. 2011. Population genetic analysis of Tomato spotted wilt virus on peanut in North Carolina and Virginia. Phytopathology 110:147-153.

Toda, T., Strausbaugh, C., Rodriguez-Carres, M., and Cubeta, M.A. 2011. Characterization of a basidiomycete fungus from sugarbeet. Mycologia 104:70-78.

Woodhall, J.W., Webb, K.M., Harper, G., Peters, J.C., Rodriguez-Carres, M., and Cubeta, M.A.2011. First report of a new binucleate Rhizoctonia in UK potato tubers. New Disease Reports23:31 [doi:10.5197/j.2044-0588.2011.023.031].

Yin, J., Koné, D., Rodriguez-Carres, M. Cubeta, M.A., Burpee, L.L., Fonash, E.G. Csinos, A.S., and Ji, P. 2011. First report of root rot caused by binucleate Rhizoctonia anastomosis group F on Musa spp. Plant Disease 94:490.


Bartz, F.E., Cubeta, M.A., Toda, T., Naito, S., and Ivors, K. 2010. An in planta method for assessing the role of basidiospores in Rhizoctonia foliar disease of tomato. Plant Disease 94:515-520.

Sullivan, M. J., Parks, E. J., Cubeta, M. A., Gallup, C. A., Moyer, J.W., and Shew, H.D.2010. Assessment of genetic diversity from a field population of Phytophthora nicotianae with a changing race structure. Plant Disease 94:455-460. (cited as Editor’s pick, April 2010).


Ferrucho, R.L., Zala, M., Zhang, Z., Cubeta, M.A., Garcia-Dominguez, C., and Ceresini, P.C. 2009. Highly polymorphic in silico-derived microsatellite loci in the potato-infecting fungal pathogen Rhizoctonia solani anastomosis group 3 from the Colombian Andes. Molecular Ecology Resources 9:1013-1016.

Kanetis, L., Wang, X., Wadl, P.A., Neufeld, K., Holmes, G.A., Ojiambo, P., Cubeta, M.A., and Trigiano, R.T. 2009. Microsatellite loci in the downy mildew pathogen, Pseudoperonospora cubensis. Molecular Ecology Resources 9:1460-1466.


Charlton, N.D., Carbone, I., Tavantzis, S.M., and M.A. Cubeta. 2008. Phylogenetic relatedness of the M2 double stranded RNA in Rhizoctonia fungi. Mycologia 100:555-564.


Ceresini, P.C., Shew, H.D. Vilgalys, R., T.Y. James, and Cubeta, M.A. 2007. Molecular diversity and phylogeography of Rhizoctonia solani AG-3 based on sequence analysis of two nuclear loci. BMC Evolutionary Biology 7:163-184.

Charlton, N.D. and Cubeta, M.A. 2007. Transmission of the M2 double-stranded RNA virus in Rhizoctonia solani anastomosis group 3 (AG-3). Mycologia 99:859-867.

Rinehart, T., Copes, W., Toda, T. and Cubeta, M.A. 2007. Genetic characterization of binucleate Rhizoctonia species causing web blight on azalea in Mississippi and Alabama. Plant Dis. 91:616-623.


Gonzalez-Hernandez, D., Vilgalys, R., and Cubeta, M.A. 2006. Phylogenetic utility of indels within sequences of ribosomal and beta-tubulin genes in fungi belonging to the Rhizoctonia species complex. Mol. Phylogen. Evol. 40:459-470.