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UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center

UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center

Dr. Nabil Killiny

Associate Professor - Plant Pathology

Program Emphasis

Research interests:
My research interests focus on the biology of pathogen-vector interfaces. Interactions between vector and pathogen vary from simple mechanical transmission to intricate interactions where the pathogens must develop and multiply within vectors. Our research focuses on the molecular characterization of different transmission systems including pathogens which colonize their vectors and either circulative or non-circulative in their vectors.
1-The circulative multiplicative systems:Spiroplasma citri/Circulifer haematoceps. Spiroplasmas ingested via phloem-sap feeding traverse the leafhopper gut wall, move into the haemolymph and invade the salivary glands, where they are introduced into the phloem of new host plant.
2- The multiplicative foregut-borne system: Xylella fastidiosa/Graphocephala atropunctata. X. fastidiosa cells colonize only the cibarium and precibarium of the sharpshooter vector’s foregut. The vector acquires and inoculates cells in the xylem sap of host plants during feeding.
3- The circulative multiplicative system: Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus/Diaphorina citri. The pathogen is phloem restricted in plant and transmitted by the Asian citrus psyllid.
Research goals:

The molecular characterization of the interactions between pathogen and its vector is important to understand the behavior of this pathogen and then target the transmission process using the appropriate strategy. Furthermore, in the context of sustainable agriculture we should use friendly environmental solutions. For that, developing alternative strategies based on the understanding pathogen-vector interactions is necessary.


Vector-Pathogen interactions

Dr. Nabil Killiny


Phone: (863) 956-8833

  • Program Members
  • Publications
  • Education
    • Ph.D. in Biological and Medical Sciences; with particular focus on Pathogen-Vector Molecular Interactions, University of Bordeaux 2 and INRA, Bordeaux, France. 2005.
    • Dissertation title: “Spiroplasma citri and its insect vector Circulifer haematoceps: Proteins-proteins interaction and identification of a protein marker of transmission

  • Past Positions
    • Post Doctoral Researcher Nov 2006-Dec 2010.  University of California, Berkeley, CA