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Katherine Hayden

Katherine Hayden

session, year:
2012 2nd

Former fellow

Receiving laboratory:
IaM Tree/Microorganism Interactions, Nancy

Country of origin:

United States of America

Country of destination:


Last available contact


Download Curriculum Vitae

Mobility project

Adaptation of poplar rust to the poplar varietal landscape

I joined the Tree-Microbe Interactions group via an AgreenSkills fellowship, to study the evolution of poplar rust (Melampsora larici-populina) in response to human-bred disease resistance in poplar plantations. My project here has two aims: first, we will build on the work of Xhaard et al. (2011, Mol Ecol 20: 2739-2755), which documented a landscape-scale takeover by a single genetic group of rust, virulent to a widely planted (and previously rust-resistant) poplar clone. We will examine the evolutionary dynamics since the takeover, documenting whether introgression of the virulence genes has been influenced by the presence of other resistance types, and whether these types are exerting their own selective pressure. Secondly, we will shift our focus to quantitative resistance to rust in poplar, that is, differences in degree of disease. Quantitative resistance is believed to be more durable to pathogen evolution than is qualitative, all-or-nothing, disease resistance. Using historic collections, we will study the interactions of clonal rust lineages (taken from across space and time) with quantitatively resistant poplars. This research will shed light on the ways in which pathogens evolve in response to quantitative resistance, broadening our understanding of host-pathogen interactions while providing information of immediate agronomic utility.

Biography & research interests

My research was focused on bridging the gap between evolutionary theory and the management of natural systems. Each field can inform the other - management is improved with a science-based perspective, and management situations provide an opportunity to test models in the real world. My doctoral and postdoctoral research with Dr Matto Garbelotto at the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at the University of California, Berkeley, centred on the interaction of tanoak, a unique California native tree, with the recently emerged disease sudden oak death. This system allowed me to study host- pathogen interactions, invasion biology, and emergent diseases using methods ranging from classical quantitative genetics to next-generation sequencing, genomics, and transcriptomics. Prior to my work at Berkeley, I was introduced to plant ecology and pathology in the labs of Drs Ingrid Parker and Greg Gilbert at UC Santa Cruz, where I received a BA in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology in 2002.

Selected publications

Persoons, A., Hayden, KJ., Fabre, B., et al., 2017. The escalatory Red Queen: Population extinction and replacement following arms race dynamics in poplar rust. Molecular Ecology, 26 (7), 1902-1918.

Becheler, R., Xhaard, C., Klein, EK., Hayden, KJ., Frey, P., De Mita, S., Halkett, F, 2016. Genetic signatures of a range expansion in natura: when clones play leapfrog. Ecology & Evolution, 6 (18), 6625-6632. DesprezLoustau, ML., Aguayo, J., Dutech, C., Hayden, KJ., Husson, C., Jakushkin, B., Marcais, B., Piou, D., Robin, C., Vacher, C, 2016. An evolutionary ecology perspective to address forest pathology challenges of today and tomorrow. Annals of Forest Science, 73 (1), 45-67.

Eyre, CA., Hayden, KJ., Kozanitas, M., et al., 2014. Lineage, Temperature, and Host Species have Interacting Effects on Lesion Development in Phytophthora ramorum. Plant Disease, 98 (12), 1717-1727.

Hayden, KJ., Garbelotto, M., Knaus, BJ., et al., 2014. Dual RNA-seq of the plant pathogen Phytophthora ramorum and its tanoak host. Tree Genetics & Genomes, 10 (3), 489-502.

Talks in annual meetings

Adaptation of poplar rusts to the poplar varietal landscape
2013 / P2 Tissue and Individual / by Katherine Hayden / Fellows Speed Presentation


Fungal plant pathogen, host adaptation, landscape, signature of selection, life history traits, evolutionary trade-offs, aggressiveness, gene-for-gene model, plant resistance, virulence