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Dr. Lisa Morano, Associate Professor, Department Chair
Dr. Lisa Morano is currently an Associate Professor of Biology and Microbiology at the University of Houston-Downtown where her research interests focus on questions of microbial ecology of grapevine diseases. For the past years she and her lab students have studied various aspects of detection and genetic diversity of the bacterial pathogen Xylella fastidiosa, the causative agent of Pierce’s disease (PD) in grapevines. Once a grapevine is inoculated with X. fastidiosa by sharpshooter insects the bacteria multiply inside the xylem (water conducting vessels). Bacterial growth and the plant response to infection lead to the blockage of the xylem and ultimately plant death for most grape varieties. PD is of huge financial concern to growers in both Texas and California. Numerous plants in South Texas serve as symptom-less reservoirs for this bacterium so analysis of all Texas strains of the bacterium may help us unravel the natural history, the ecology and the epidemiology of PD.
Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of California at Davis in June 1995.
B.A. in Biology from the University of California in Irvine in April 1990.
Associate Professor of Microbiology and Biology, Department of Natural Sciences, University of Houston-Downtown, August 2001 through Present.
Instructor, Alvin Community College, Alvin, Texas. January through August 2001.
Instructor, San Jacinto College South, Pearland, Texas. January through August 2001.
Instructor, Washtenaw Community College, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Septermber 1996 through August 2000.
Instructor, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan. Fall 1998.
Instructor, Cosumnes River College, Sacramento, California. August 1994 through June 1996.
Instructor, University of California, Davis, California. Summer session, 1994 & 1995.
Instructor, Los Rios Community College District, Folsom Center, California. June through August 1993.
Honors and Awards
2009 T.V. Munson Award, Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association. Austin, Texas. February 2009.
Scholarship/Creativity Research Award Winner, University of Houston-Downtown. Houston, Texas. 2007.
Teaching Excellence Award Finalist, University of Houston-Downtown. Houston, Texas. 2007.
Outstanding Student Viticulture Paper, American Society of Enology and Viticulture Meetings, Los Angeles, California. July 1994.
Field of Specification
Microbial Ecology of grapevine diseases with emphasis on the bacterial pathogen Xylella fastidiosa, the causative agent of Pierce’s disease (PD).
University of Houston Downtown Pierce's Disease Research Lab is currently working on many projects in reference to Xylella fastidiosa.
- Genetic analysis of X. fastidiosa within Texas: In Collaboration with Dr. Bextine at University of Texas - Tyler
- Create fingerprints of X. fastidiosa bacterial isolates.
- Expression studies: use DNA microarrays to identify genomic differences from Texas grape and ragweed strains.
- Identify and catalog isolates as grape and ragweed.
- Comparative analysis of X. fastidiosa genetics across U. S.: In collaboration with Dr. Nunney at University of California Riverside.
- Identify novel strains from isolates other than grape and ragweed to build an evolutionary history of X. fastidiosa.
Undergraduate Students in Bold
Morano, LD, Bextine, BR, Garcia, DA, Maddox, SV, Gunawan, S, Vitovsky, NJ and Black, MC. 2008. Initial Genetic Analysis of Xylella fastidiosa in Texas. Current Microbiology. 56:346-351.
McGaha, L., Jackson, B., Bextine, B., McCullough, D. and Morano, L. 2007 Potential Plant Reservoirs for Xylella fastidiosa in South Texas. American Journal of Enology and Viticulture. 58(3):398-401.
Buzombo, P., Jaimes, J., Lam, V., Cantrell, K., Harkness, M. McCullough, D. and Morano, L. 2006. An American hybrid vineyard in the Texas Gulf Coast: Analysis within a Pierce’s Disease Hot Zone. American Journal of Enology and Viticulture. 57(3):347-355.
Smart, D., Schwass, E., Lasko, A. and L. Morano 2006. Grapevine rooting patterns: A comprehensive analysis and a review. American Journal of Enology and Viticulture. 57(1):89-104. (published in the proceedings listed below.)
Smart, D., Schwass, E., Lasko, A. and L. Morano. 2005. Grapevine rooting patterns: A comprehensive analysis and a review. In: Proceedings of the Soil Environment and Vine Mineral Nutrition Symposium. L.P. Christensen and D.R. Smart (eds.), pp. 153-169. 29-30 June 2004, San Diego, CA. American Society for Enology and Viticulture, Davis.
Carbajal, D., Morano, K. A. and L. D. Morano. 2004. Indirect immunofluorescence microscopy for direct detection of Xylella fastidiosa in xylem. Current Microbiology. 49:372-375.
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Last updated or reviewed on 12/21/11