Li-Jun Ma

Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Massachusetts

Fungal Comparative Genomics Website

Li-Jun Ma Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Web Site

Ph.D.: SUNY, College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Postdoctoral Training: Harvard University, Cambridge, MA; The Broad Institute of MIT & Harvard

Comparative Fungal Genomics: A Gateway Toward Understanding Genome Innovation and Adaptation.

The ancient origin of fungi and their remarkable diversity, in combination with their streamlined genomes, make the fungal kingdom an excellent model system to study eukaryotic evolution using comparative genomics. With solid training in evolution, molecular biology and genomics, I am interested in combining theoretical, computational and experimental approaches to gain insights into the relationship between ecological adaptation, genomic structure and gene content variation among closely related fungal species. A few fungal pathogens have been selected as model systems for their unique evolutionary significance and economic importance. One focusing area in my lab is to study the plant-fungal interactions of wilt diseases caused by Fusarium oxysporum and Verticillium dahliae.

Representative publications:

Ma L.-J., H. Charlotte van der Does, et al. 2010. Fusarium comparative genomics reveals lineage-specific chromosomes related to pathogenicity. Nature 465:367-373

Editorial summary
Choosy plant pathogens
Research Highlight at Nature Review Microbiology
Expanding horizons through chromosome exchange
In the news
Comparative genomics reveals horizontal gene transfer in pathogenic fungus
The chromosomal secrets of a plant pathogen

Kumar L., A. Breakspear, J. Menke, C. Kistler, L.-J. Ma*, X. Xie. 2010. Systematic Discovery of regulatory motifs in Fusarium by comparison of four Fusarium genomes. BMC Genomics 11:208.

Ma L.-J.*, A. S. Ibrahim, C. Skory, M. G. Grabherr, G. Burger, F. Lang, A. Abe, M. Butler, et al. 2009 Genomic analysis of a basal fungus Rhizopus oryzae reveals whole genome duplication. PLoS Genet 5(7):e1000549.