Nicole Donofrio

Department of Plant and Soil Sciences

Nicole Donofrio

Professor of Plant Pathology

Office location:

162 Townsend Hall
Newark, DE 19716

Resources and links


  • Postdoc – North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC (2002-2006)
  • Ph.D. – Cornell University, Ithaca, NY (1995-2002)
  • B.A. – Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY (1991-1995)

Current courses


Generally speaking, my scientific interests have always been to understand the intricate and sometimes quite complex nature of interactions between plants and fungal plant pathogens. Why do plants succumb to disease? And how do certain fungi take advantage of a plant’s “inner-workings” to grow and reproduce? Specifically, there are two projects going on in my lab: the first focuses on the molecular interactions between a devastating fungal pathogen of rice, barley and other cereal crops, called Magnaporthe oryzae. The second is on a fungal-like organism that is of economic interest to lima bean breeders and farmers in Delaware, and is a close relative of the pathogen that caused the Irish Potato Famine. This fungal-like parasite called Phytophthora phaseoli can, under the proper conditions, destroy up to half of the lima bean yield in one season. We study the transcriptional and translational regulation of genes that may play critical roles in the interactions between these destructive pathogens and their hosts.

Professional activities

  • Associate Editor, Phytopathology
  • Office of Public Relations and Outreach, American Phytopathological Society

Huang, K., Czymmek, K., Caplan, J., Sweigard, JA and Donofrio, NM. 2011. Suppression of plant-generated reactive oxygen species is required for successful infection by the rice blast fungus. Virulence. (accepted August, 2011).

Huang, K., Caplan, J., Sweigard, JA., Czymmek, KJ and Donofrio, NM. 2011. HYR1-mediated detoxification of reactive oxygen species is required for full virulence in the rice blast fungus. PLoS Pathogens 7(4): e1001335.doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1001335.(this article was highlighted in Nature Reviews Microbiology and can be found here: Nature Reviews Microbiology 9, 399 (June 2011) | doi:10.1038/nrmicro2588)

Mathioni, SM., Belo, A., Rizzo, CJ., Dean, RA and Donofrio, NM. 2011. Transcriptome profiling of the rice blast fungus during invasive plant infection and in vitro stresses. BMC Genomics 12:49. doi:10.1186/1471-2164-12-49.

Raffaele, S., Farrer, RA., Cano, LM., Studholme, DJ., Maclean, D., Jiang, RHY., Zody, MC., Kunjeti, SG., Donofrio, NM., Meyers, BC., Nusbaum, C. and Kamoun, S. 2010. Genome evolution following host jumps in the Irish potato famine pathogen lineage. Science 330: 6010, 1549-1551. DOI:10.1126/science.1195203.

Rudrappa, T., Kunjeti, SG., Donofrio, NM., Czymmek, KJ., Pare, PW., and Bais, HP. 2010. The rhizobacterial elicitor acetoin induces systemic resistance in Arabidopsis.  Communicative and Integrative Biology 3:2, 1-9.

Oh, Y., Donofrio, NM., Pan, H., Coughlan, S., Brown, DE., Mitchell, TK. and Dean, RA.       2008.  Transcriptome analysis reveals new insight into appressorium formation   and function in the rice blast fungus, Magnaporthe oryzae.  Genome Biology 9,    R85.

Meng, Y., Patel, G., Heist, M., Betts, FM., Tucker, SL., Galadima, N., Donofrio, NM.,          Brown, D., Mitchell, TK. Li, L., Xu, J-R., Orbach, MJ., Thon, M., Dean, RA., and           Farman, ML.  2007.  A systematic analysis of T-DNA insertion events in      Magnaporthe oryzae.  Fungal Genetics and Biology 44, 1050-1064.

Betts, FM., Tucker, SL., Galadima, N., Meng, Y., Patel, G., Li, L., Donofrio, NM., Floyd, A., Nolin, S., Brown, D., Mandel, MA., Mitchell, TK., Xu, J-R., Dean, RA., Farman ML.,    and Orbach, MJ.  2007.  Development of a High Throughput Transformation   System for Insertional Mutagenesis in Magnaporthe oryzae. Fungal Genetics and Biology 44, 1035-1049.

Donofrio, NM., Oh, Y., Lundy, R., Pan, H., Jeong, JS., Coughlan, S., Mitchell, TK. and Dean, RA.  2006.  Global gene expression during nitrogen starvation in the rice blast fungus, Magnaporthe grisea.  Fungal Genetics and Biology 43, 605-617.