Luis C. Mejia

Research associate

Luis C. Mejia

e-mail: mejialc@si.edu

Address: Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Apartado 0843-03092
Balboa, Ancon, Republic of Panama

Telephone: +507 212.8836




LinkPublications by Luis C. Mejia in STRI Bibliography

LinkPublications in PDF

Research Interests

Plant-Microbe interactions
Biology, ecology, and systematics of plant associated fungi
Molecular Phylogenetics
Plant immunity

Current Research

I employ plant pathology and mycology methods, molecular techniques, and genomic tools to: 1) determine the effects of fungal endophyte colonization on their host genes and phenotypic expression, 2) identify the genetic mechanisms that differentiate the beneficial interactions of plants and some endophytes from the detrimental interactions between plants and pathogens, and 3) assess diversity and function of microbial (bacteria and fungi) species composing microbiomes of tropical trees. I also employ molecular phylogenetics and comparative morphology in order to: 1) infer the evolutionary history of selected groups of fungi and 2) uncover and describe new fungal taxa.

Research projects:

1. The genetic and molecular basis of tree leaf - endophyte symbioses??

2. Diversity and functional roles of microbiomes of tropical trees. This research uses Theobroma cacao (the chocolate tree) and Jatropha curcas (a tree of interest as feedstock for biofuel) as models.

3. Biosystematics of microfungi associated with diseases of tropical forest trees

Education and Degrees

B.S. Biology (Microbiology and Parasitology), Universidad de Panama, 2002.
Ph.D. Plant Biology and Pathology, Rutgers University, 2009.

Selected Bibliography

Walker, D.W., Castlebury, L.A., Rossman, A.Y., Mejía, L.C., White, J.F. 2012. Phylogeny and taxonomy of Ophiognomonia (Gnomoniaceae, Diaporthales), including twenty-five new species in this highly diverse genus. Fungal Diversity, doi 10.1007/s13225-012-0200-y.

Mejía, L.C., Guiltinan, M.J., Shi, Z., Landherr, L., and Maximova S.N. 2012. Expression of Designed Anti-Microbial Peptides in Theobroma cacao L. Trees Reduces Leaf Necrosis Caused by Phytophthora spp. In Rajasekaran, K., R. Rajah and J. Jaynes, eds. Small Wonders: Peptides for Disease Control, ACS Symposium Series volume 1095: 379-395. American Chemical Society, Washington DC.

Mejía, L.C., Rossman, A.Y., Castlebury, L.A., Yang, Z.L., White, J. F. 2012. Occultocarpon, a new monotypic genus on Alnus nepalensis from China. Fungal Diversity 52:99-105.

Mejía, L.C., Castlebury, L.A., Rossman, A.Y., Sogonov, M.V., White, J.F. A. 2011. A systematic account of the genus Plagiostoma (Gnomoniaceae, Diaporthales) based on morphology, host associations and a four-gene phylogeny. Studies in Mycology 68: 211-235.

Mejía, L.C., Rossman, A.Y., Castlebury, L.A., White, J. F. 2011. New species, phylogeny, host-associations, and geographic distribution of the genus Cryptosporella (Gnomoniaceae, Diaporthales). Mycologia 103(2):379-399.

Mejía, L.C., Herre, E.A., Singh, A., Singh, V., Vorsa, N., White, J.F. 2009. Fungal endophytes: defensive characteristics and implications for agricultural applications. In: White, J.F. and Torres, M., eds. Defensive Mutualism in Microbial Symbiosis. Pp. 367-384. CRC Press.

Sogonov, M.V., Castlebury, L.A., Rossman, A.Y., Mejía, L.C., White, J.F. 2008. Leaf inhabiting genera of Gnomoniaceae (Diaporthales). Studies in Mycology 62:1-79.

Rojas, E. I., Herre, E.A., Mejía, L.C., Arnold, A. E., Chaverri, P., Samuels, G.J. 2008. Endomelanconiopsis a new anamorphic genus in the Botryosphaeriaceae. Mycologia 100(5): 760-775.

Mejía, L.C., Rojas, E.I. Maynard, Z.,Van Bael, S. Arnold, A.E., Hebbar, P.H., Samuels, G.J., Robbins, N., Herre, E.A. 2008. Endophytic fungi as biocontrol agents of Theobroma cacao pathogens. Biological Control 46:4-14.

Mejía, L.C., Castlebury, L., Rossman, A. Y., Sogonov, M.V., White, J. F. 2008. Phylogenetic placement and taxonomic review of the genus Cryptosporella and its synonyms Ophiovalsa and Winterella, Mycological Research 112:23-35

Herre, E.A., Mejía, L.C., Kyllo, D., Rojas, E. Maynard, Z., Butler, A and Van Bael, S.A. 2007. Implications of observed anti-pathogen effects of tropical fungal endophytes and mycorrhizae. Ecology. 88(3): 550-558.

Herre, E.A., Kyllo, D.A., Mangan, S.A., Husband, R., Mejía, L.C., Eom, A.-H. 2005. An overview of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi composition, distribution, and host effects from a Tropical Moist Forest. In: Burslem, D.F.R.P., Pinard, M.A., Hartley, S.E. (Eds.), Biotic interactions in the tropics: their role in the maintenance of species diversity. Cambridge University Press. pp. 204-225.

Van Bael, S.A., Maynard, Z., Robbins, N., Bischoff, J., Arnold, A.E., Mejía, L. C., Kyllo, D., Herre, E. A. 2005. Emerging perspectives on the ecological roles of endophytic fungi in tropical plants. In: J. Dighton, P. Oudemans, and J. F. White (eds.). The fungal community: its organization and role in the ecosystem. 3rd edition.

Herre, E.A., Van Bael, S.A., Maynard, Z., Robbins, N., Bischoff, J., Arnold, A.E, Rojas, E., Mejía, L.C., Cordero, R.A., Woodward, C., Kyllo, D.A. 2005. Tropical plants as chimera: some implications of foliar endophytic fungi for the study of host plant defense, physiology, and genetics. In: Burslem, D.F.R.P., Pinard, M.A., Hartley, S.E. (Eds.), Biotic interactions in the tropics: their role in the maintenance of species diversity. Cambridge University Press. pp. 226-237.

Arnold, A.E., Mejía, L.C., Kyllo, D., Rojas, E., Maynard, Z. Robbins, N., Herre, E.A. 2003. Fungal Endophytes Limit Pathogen Damage in a Tropical Tree. 2003. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 100 (26): 15649-15654.