Recognizing Plant Direct first authors: Anna Katherine Block

Anna Katherine Block, first author of Specialized naphthoquinones present in Impatiens glandulifera extra-floral nectaries inhibit the growth of fungal nectar microbes

Current Position: Research Molecular Biologist, Chemistry Research Unit at the Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology of the Agricultural Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture

Education: Masters in Biochemistry from the University of Bath, England (2000), Ph. D in Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Florida, USA (2004)

Non-scientific Interests: Reading, Hiking, and Art

Brief bio: I first developed my interest in plant defense responses while doing my Ph. D studying the role of plant hormones in pathogen defense in Arabidopsis and tomato in the lab of Harry Klee at the University of Florida.  Following this, I had the opportunity to approach things from the pathogen perspective as Post Doc in the lab of Jim Alfano at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where I worked on the functions of bacterial type three effector proteins and their ability to suppress host defenses. I then returned to the plant side as a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where in collaboration with Gilles Basset I elucidated the function of several enzymes important for the biosynthesis of the plant quinone co-factors ubiquinone and plastoquinone. I am currently a Research Scientist with the ARS-USDA in Gainesville, Florida and my research group focuses on discovering genes and compounds in maize that are important for insect and pathogen resistance.